In his most recent homily Pope Francis spoke of vulnerability, and how acknowledging our moments of fragility helps lead us to a deeper relationship with Christ.
By accepting our vulnerability in moments of challenge, ‘we discover that we are like beautiful crystals, fragile and at the same time precious’.
‘And if, like crystal, we are transparent before him, his light – the light of mercy – will shine in us and through us in the world.’
Thank you to all our families for your continued messages of gratitude , hope and resilience.
Families, students, teachers and staff have been rising to the challenges of the last few weeks as we continue to experience the high-quality Catholic education that is our mission, and which has, indeed been shining brightly.
Our successes in transitioning to remote learning are shared every day in the lessons planned and delivered by staff and in the work that students share with their teachers, supported by caring families. The crisis of Covid 19 has brought out the best in all of us, as we struggle, encourage each other, work in teams and know that at the end of this period of our lives, we will all be ok. Better than ok - we will be more resilient, appreciative of all our health care workers and essential services workers and know the true value of friendships and connectedness.
While most families are coping with the academic side of remote learning, it is the disconnection from friends and isolation from extended family that weighs heavily on us all. Children are missing their friends and their teachers as well as the freedom of participating in out of school activities. Our daily routines are usually built around schools and work, sports, play groups, and community events and currently all families are managing without these supports. Life is really hard right now.
Routines are a positive way of getting through this difficult time and can strengthen family relationships. In planning your weekday schedule, involve the children. The more say they have in the routine, the more likely they are to stick to it! However, grumpy children, sibling arguments, really good days followed by really bad days, tears, hugs, laughter and smiles and ‘when will this be over’s, are all part of how everyone is feeling. Be kind to yourself. Know that you are doing a wonderful job. If your child is unwell, please email your classroom teacher and let them know you will not be participating in remote learning. Remember, everyone needs a metal health day now and then.
One more tip: why not make time for gratitude during your family routine? This is about regularly sharing something from your day that you’re grateful for. It can help you all to feel good and stay positive.
Principal Awards were sent to all students last Friday. Prep - 2 awards were sent to their parents' email address and Yrs 3 - 6 were sent to the students' school email address.
On Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday of each week, parents are invited to bring their children to the front gate and let them come to the front Office for Library borrowing and exchanging books. Parents are asked to wait outside the front gate, which will be unlocked between 10am and 2.30pm on these days. Please let your child’s teacher know if you would like to swap home readers as well and a pack will be organised.
Next week more information will be available to schools after the state and federal Governments have met. This information is then passed onto Catholic Education Melbourne. I will be in contact with parents if there are any changes to the current arrangements of remote learning for the remainder of Term 2.
Please do not hesitate to contact your classroom teacher or me if you require any additional support. Every family is different and every family has their own challenges during this time. We are all here for you.
Take care and stay safe.
Our Federated Schools doing SO WELL
In times of crisis and during election time education becomes a ‘football’ where everyone has an opinion and pressure is applied by governments. This COVID 19 crisis has seen the Federal Government and State Government at loggerheads about schools opening. Catholic Primary Schools in Victoria receive almost 80% of our funding from the Federal Government, while State Schools are funded fully by the State Government. That was why the Federal Education Minister said last week if Catholic and Independent Schools open then funding will be bought forward. (it was no extra funding).
St Catherine’s, St Paul’s and St Peter’s (and all Catholic Primary Schools in Victoria) will be directed by the Catholic Education Commission of Victoria (CECV) about when we return and what that looks like. We cannot make that decision alone. In a statement last week, the CECV said: “The CECV is following the advice of the Chief Health Officer and working with the Victorian Department of Education and Training on developing a state-wide process for all schools to transition back to in-person teaching, and will provide an update once an approach has been agreed.”
We will know more on May 11th when the State of Emergency in Victoria ends and the State Government will make announcements about Stage 3 restrictions and whether Remote Learning will continue or whether we will transition back to school before the end of term.
It amazes me how much our world has changed in the last few months, it amazes me even more how adaptable human beings can be. The way in which schools have responded to this situation is an indication of staff's commitment to the children, their willingness to take risks and to learn new things. This is just what we expect of our students.
I am just in awe of the work our teachers are doing currently to minimise the disruption to the students’ learning but to also support their wellbeing. I thank them sincerely for the way in which they have gone above and beyond and for the countless additional hours they are committing to our schools currently. To our Office Staff and Learning Support Officers we say thank you for being there to answer phone calls to support families and assist the students that have to attend school.
To the parents, l know it is an extremely difficult task to work from home and support your children with remote learning, but I want to say congratulations on the wonderful job you are doing.
It is in times of uncertainty that you see what sort of leader someone is. I want to acknowledge the absolute outstanding leadership of Michael Hanney (St Peter’s), Catherine Tammesild (St Paul’s) and Lynda O’Donnell (St Catherine’s) during this time. They have not stopped since the news broke that we would be having remote learning for Term 2. Keeping on top of updates from CECV, preparing information that needed to be distributed to parents, responding to emails, supporting staff and planning with their teams around what Term 2 would look like. The time commitment they have put in behind the scenes needs to be acknowledged and for families to be aware of. Be confident in the great leadership each school has - it will get us through this situation.
We will come out of this and we will have learnt a great deal about ourselves and some of the learnings we take from it will make us better people and better educators.
The latest version of ‘Catholic Education Today’ can be found on the Catholic Education Melbourne website.
THE GIFT OF HUMILITY
In his writings St Benedict writes about HUMILITY and PRIDE. Sr. Joan Chittister (a Benedictine Nun) expands of the sixth step of Humility, “To confess and believe that one is unworthy and useless for anything”. We may cringe at the language but the whole concept of humility is one which as Christians we are asked to strive towards. Humility is certainly not a secular word and is deemed unnecessary in a world which seeks success. But in the Christian world humility is a gift and Jesus is our role model in what it means to live a life of humility.
Below are St Benedict’s steps of Humility and Pride and then Sr Joan’s reflections. Worth thinking about in this time of COVID-19 and how were are coping and dealing with isolation.
Grab a cup of tea and take time to read and reflect.
Edward Dooley (Mission and Faith Leader)
Life will become its own reward
The sixth step of humility is to be “content with the lowest and most menial treatment.” We might say, “to be content with less than the best.”
There is nothing in the sixth step of humility and its call for simplicity, authenticity, and self-effacement that speaks of attractiveness to a modern world.
“Getting ahead,” at least in a modern culture, smacks of getting things, getting power, getting status, getting noticed. But the sixth step of humility instructs us not to want any kind of special treatment at all, which implies, of course, that special treatment has nothing to do with genuine freedom. So what are we to think? Where does happiness lie in a consumer society if not in consumption?
The Rule gives us three criteria by which to assess our likelihood of ever being truly happy. Not simply satisfied, that is, but genuinely contented by life. Happy.
First, if you have not attached your sense of self to having the best of everything, you won’t be crushed when you see someone with things that cost more than yours. You’ll be happy to have what you truly need. Second, if you don’t need to be the centre of attention, you will be happy just to be part of a group of good people who do good things together. The thirst for attention is a toxic brew. If it comes—in athletics, in government, in public activities—you will be scrutinized. And if it doesn’t, you’ll be depressed. Third, if you don’t expect a constant deluge of praise, privilege, and preeminence, then not experiencing those things will not disturb you.
The Rule is straightforward: If you do not depend on exemption, advantage, and personal prerogatives to measure your happiness, your success, your life will become its own reward. A walk by the lake at night will dilute all the pressures of the day. An appointment for supper with friends will be enough to get you up happy in the morning. Then whatever the turn of the social system around you, your love of life unadorned and unaffected will sustain you.
The sixth step of humility gives us the opportunity to come to know ourselves in the raw. What we are without masks and costumes to protect us from the eyes of the world is where real happiness lies. Even more, humility allows others to know us down to the bone. It is a moment of clarity. It tells us that we are enough for ourselves. It gives us the opportunity to become everything we are, everything we can be, rather than find ourselves pinioned on the false opinion of others.
Humility punctures all the definitions of happiness a world made of plastic has to offer. It’s about authenticity, simplicity, and truth. It’s about being exactly who we are, no more, no less. It’s about being satisfied rather than being intoxicated.
Humility spares us from having to put on airs, keep up, impress, or mask. We don’t need to pretend that we are anyone we aren’t. We only need to become the best of what we are.
DADS GROUP UPDATE
A quick update on the Dads Group.
VICTORIAN POLICE LEGACY FUND DONATION - $3,000
Out of respect for families within our St Pauls Community that serve on the Police Force, a call out was made to raise funds for the four families through the Victorian Police Legacy Fund. We raised a little over $3,000 as a Community Group, which in these unique times, is an outstanding effort. A massive thanks you to all donations, no matter how small.
THIS WEEKS DADS NIGHT – 8PM 7TH MAY - THE SECOND VIRTUAL TRIVIA NIGHT – HOSTED BY DAMIEN McDADE
Damien McDade is holding another virtual trivia night for the Dads Group on this Thursday, which replaces the normal first Thursday of the Night drinks at the RSL, with some very unique entertainment. This is the second virtual trivia night. The first one had well over 20 attendees and was a massive success.
We will dial into the call at 8pm have a pre-quiz drink before kicking off the quiz at 8.15pm sharp.
What do you need to do?
- Download the Kahootapp onto your phone – You will use your phone to answer the questions. Please download the Kahoot App before you join the call!!!
- Dial into the zoom call - see details below. Please mute your phone during the rounds.
- On the zoom call I’ll give you all a number to type into the app and we are up and running
The ZoomCall details are:
Damien McDade is inviting you to a scheduled AVEVA Zoom meeting.
Join from PC, Mac, Linux, iOS or Android: https://aveva.zoom.us/j/93722230627
So gents get the kids to bed and set yourself up in front of your laptop.
We still don’t have all Dad’s details on the database. There are not that many emails sent a month.
Please send your details direct to myself so that I can add you in.
Mobile: 0411 279 773