At noon the whole country was covered with darkness which lasted for three hours.
At about three o’clock Jesus cried out with a loud shout, ‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?
Jesus again gave a loud cry, and breathed his last.
When the soldiers with him, who were watching Jesus, saw the earthquake and everything else that happened,
they were terrified and said, ‘He really was the Son of God.’
Matthew 27:25-54

The Season of Lent began this week and is a time of preparation for Easter when we renew our lives as modern-day disciples of Jesus. We focus our thoughts on Jesus and through prayer and penance, reflect on his experience in the desert. In the early Church it was a time when people who wanted to be Christians were instructed in the faith and prepared for baptism. Lent is a time of prayer, fasting and giving. While acts of self-discipline remain a significant feature of Lent in the Catholic tradition, Lent is more about what we do for others than what we ‘give up’. This Lent let us set aside time to reflect on the presence of God in our daily lives and strive to follow the example of Jesus in his unconditional love of all.

The Year 7 House Masses and dinners concluded last week with Brandsma, Trinity and Mantua Houses bringing these 8 evenings to a close. They have all been wonderful opportunities for the parents, boys and pastoral care teachers to get to know each other a little better and establish effective support networks. It is clear from the many wonderful conversations with the boys and their parents that the boys have settled very well into their new school environment. Thank you so much to our Parents’ Association and student leaders who have generously supported these evenings and graciously served the meals and ensuring that our new families were so warmly welcomed to the College.
Following on from the last 6 months of intensive training under the guidance of Mr Shane Cotter, Mr Malcolm Legge and the amazing ‘Coach Bob’, our swimming squad produced an incredible team effort in the ACC Swimming Championship. It was a thrilling evening for all involved, particularly the boys, but while falling just short of achieving another championship, which was won by De La Salle College with St Bede’s a close third, the boys showed themselves to be wonderful competitors and true sportsmen of the highest integrity.

The College Open Day was held last Sunday where staff and student tour guides were able to showcase many of the wonderful aspects of the College. While it was a warm day, it was also a very warm welcome that greeted prospective parents throughout the course of the day.
The new initiative of a Grandparents Morning enabled us to host a large number of grandparents who were incredibly appreciative of the opportunity to spend special time with their grandsons as they wandered around their new school. The first session blended seamlessly with the Open Day, generating a great sense of community where prospective parents and their sons engaged with the student tour leaders, asked plenty of insightful questions and left reassured by what the College has to offer their sons.

The House Athletics Championship was won by Brandsma House this week, bringing to an end the Stein House dynasty of recent years. After postponing the carnival for a week to avoid a Melbourne heat wave (37 degrees), the boys endured some archetypal Melbourne weather with a veritable 4 seasons in one day – several times over. The day began with a very reverent Ash Wednesday service led by Fr Paul Sireh at the Tom Kelly Athletics track before the events were quickly under way. Thank you to Mr Height, Ms Rock and the many staff who facilitated the day. Thank you also to the boys who were so willing to get involved, jump into events at short notice and in some cases, compete as Teletubbies, Cookie monsters or Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles! The boys clearly take great pride in their House and this is the result of considerable effort by the College to create a sense of enjoyment and belonging. It was a great day of healthy competition, enjoyed by all who attended.

A number of Year 9 students will be departing Australia on Saturday 16 March, for six weeks in China, participating in the Victorian Young Leaders to China (VLYC) program. They will be studying at Beijing Language & Culture University for two weeks and then moving into Chengdu for four weeks. The experience is all about language immersion and leadership.
Each year International Women’s Day is celebrated on 8 March. The first International Women’s Day was held in 1911 and since then, thousands of events have marked the economic, political and social achievements of women. At Whitefriars, student leaders were able to recognise this day in support of the women in our College community by engaging in servant leadership during a luncheon in the Science and Technology Centre on the day.

Almae In Fide Parentis
Greg Stewart
en English