During the first weekend of the school holidays our group of 16 Year 9 students returned renewed in spirit accompanied by Year 9 Staff members Annalee McKew and Luke Parsons from their immersion in Naiyu - Daly River. They felt extremely lucky and grateful to have the chance to go on this immersion experience to this small aboriginal community, located a few hours south of Darwin.
Here are some of the student’s reflections they have shared on the immersion:
I have truly been immersed into a different culture and lifestyle. I have tried new things and broken boundaries that I never would has thought about before the trip. I have found out what living in the outback is like. I have discovered that I don’t need to be someone else to be liked.
This immersion has opened my eyes to Aboriginal culture, customs and traditions. It has been an amazing experience. I have gained a greater knowledge of the life of an Aboriginal community in a remote part of Australia.
This immersion has increased my knowledge of Aboriginal community life, just from entering their community and working with the kids at St Francis Xavier Catholic School. I have also seen rich culture and respect for each other. I learnt this from our cultural awareness session at Nungalinya College in Darwin on our first night.
I learnt that the education of Aboriginal students was different to ours. The way they learn is different to how we structure our school day. It is more hands on and the connection to the bush is very strong. The pure excitement shown by some of the kids especially the younger kids towards our visit was surprising. They wanted to hang out with us and spend time getting to know one another whilst welcoming to their home, their country and their spirit.
I have bonded new friendships with other students on the trip. This immersion has taught me laws and traditions of Aboriginal culture. The immersion has showed me the contrast to how Aboriginal people and white people are buried. The Adelaide River War Cemetery was manicured green gardens and soldiers were commemorated. In contrast, we were shown bush sites of Aboriginal massacres and no one would even know that they happened. The Nauiyu community made us feel welcome and accepted. We were baptised into their Country.
Meeting Miriam for the first time was different. She seemed a lot happier than I thought. And she inspired me with her words: “Find a place of relaxation and talk to yourself, making sure you are okay. Even if you look crazy doing it, it is for your own good”.
This immersion has been the best and most amazing experience that is a once in a lifetime opportunity. It has brought me closer to the Aboriginal world. It has also made me appreciate less time on my phone and to live in the moment.
It was with much excitement that we joyfully gathered together on Monday evening to celebrate the class of 2022 at our Graduation Mass supported by the voices from the vocal ensemble accompanied by the college band. The Head of Mt Sion Wellbeing, Meleah Zanos as MC, began proceedings by inviting our House Leaders Matt Walsh, Pat Prendergast, Aaron Westgarth and Jackson Langhorne and our Principal Tony Paatsch, to present the certificates to the Graduating students of 2022.
To begin our Mass attended by Year 12 students, their parents, care givers, family members and staff, our College Captain Patrick F processed in with the Cross, followed by Deputy Captains Seamus R holding the book of the Gospels and Arden C with a candle.
To celebrate our mass, we welcomed back Fr Matthew Thomas, an Old Collegian from the Parish of Mildura who also graduated from the College 29 years ago. We are grateful that he could travel to be with us while also visiting his family connections in Geelong. Fr Matt in his homily shared memories of the lasting impact his teachers, some still teaching here today, and his fellow classmates had on him. He reminded the Graduating students of four important F words to carry with them and be grateful for moving forward; family, friends, fun and faith and to take the opportunities as they arise when doors are opened to them.
Our Gospel and Spirituality Touchstone leader Tane B, reflected on and challenged the group by sharing: ‘We have approached our final years as a journey, and as we reach our destination, we know that what lies on the other side of exams is another exciting journey. Tonight, we come to give thanks for all those who journeyed with us and ask God to strengthen our faith to be with us on that journey in the years to come. Let us heed the words from St Paul, may we have faith to trust in our ability to live out the gospel values we have witnessed and to achieve what we have set out to do with integrity as we continue on the journey we have begun at St Joseph’s.’
To conclude the evening in the Principal’s address Tony Paatsch reminded the students, to ‘…have an understanding of your obligation and responsibility for improving the lives of others, particularly those most in need. You graduate today with an understanding, as St Mary MacKillop reminds us, that we find happiness in making others happy.’
Archbishop Peter Comensoli is inviting young people aged 16 to 35, across the Archdiocese to journey with him to Lisbon, Portugal for World Youth Day in 2023.
This is a life changing opportunity for our youth to experience their Catholic faith with more than a million young people from around the world.
Regional Information Session at St Francis Xavier Parish, 143 Bacchus Marsh Rd, Corio on 27th October from 7.30pm. A life changing trip to Lisbon, Portugal, joining with 500 other young Catholics. If interested, go along to hear how Parishes and Schools will aim to support this event.
"After a long period of social distancing and isolation, we will all rediscover in Lisbon with God's help the joy of a fraternal embrace between peoples and generations, an embrace of reconciliation and peace, an embrace of new missionary fraternity!"
- Pope Francis
The Church has set aside this month of October as a time for praying the Rosary.
Pope Francis encourages us to learn about and pray the Rosary.
He says ‘The Rosary is a school of prayer; the Rosary is a school of faith!’ We will have a focus on the Rosary in our homeroom Daily Prayers this week. Many of the major religions have for centuries advocated the use of prayer beads as an aid to prayer. Since the earliest of times, people have used pebbles or a string of knots or beads on a cord to keep track of prayers offered to God. Muslims use a set of 99 beads with each bead representing a name for God in the Islamic faith tradition. Other examples are the Hindu ‘Mala beads’ and the Buddhist prayer beads. Does your family have a beloved pair of Rosary Beads gifted to your child for one of their sacraments or handed down from a Grandparent or Godparent you could remind them of this month?
May God’s love and peace surround us as it did Mary and her family and friends.