Mission Report – December 3, 2015

December 2, 2015

As we begin to wind down the school year for 2015 we also commence the Season of Advent. Our celebration of the joys of our time together is directed to preparation for the great joy of Christmas.

-For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life- (John 3:16)

There are the external symbols and rituals of Christmas that unite as a Christian community. We are putting up Christmas trees, setting up Nativity scenes and debating whether the baby Jesus should be there now or appear on Christmas morning. We think of the ones we love and what -‘they might like’ for Christmas. Many of us also make donations to St Vincent de Paul so that all may be included in our joy. Under the direction of Mr Jarrod Ryan, our students have donated foodstuffs that will be offered to Sr Marie Vagg who will distribute them to families. For many years Sr Marie has been an essential link in the just relationship between St Patrick’s College and the wider community, and we thank her for the example of love and peace that she has offered our students. Also Mrs Sarah Kochskamper, together with the students of Year 10 Food Technology, have baked Christmas cakes that were then wrapped by Mrs Kochskamper, Mr Sean Toscoe and Junior Vinnies students Jack Brown, Vi Do, Oakley Haddon and Ben Gray. These cakes will also be delivered to families and action snaps of the process can be seen on the College Facebook page. These are some of the visible signs of our Christmas faith.

There is also the deeply personal dimension that we should not neglect. This is the desire to be united in friendship with God. Christmas is a special time to acknowledge in the depths of our heart the gift of God’s love from which everything flows. To let this love flood our hearts (Rom 5:5) so fully that we can be open to the gift of eternal life is the gift that the baby in the manger has given us. This Christmas, among all the joy of giving and receiving, may we pause to acknowledge the Giver of all gifts, and respond with prayer, worship and love. –

Pope Francis has announced that we shall celebrate a Year of Mercy from December 8th. Our Catholic tradition teaches that there are fourteen works of mercy: seven corporal and seven spiritual. This reflects the -‘external and internal dimensions’ of life that I have discussed above. In celebrating our year together and in preparation for Christmas and the Year of Mercy, I offer these works as our sure guide to the reward of perfect love in God. May your Christmas be a time of great joy.

Seven corporal works of mercy

  1. Feed the hungry

  2. Give drink to the thirsty

  3. Clothe the naked

  4. Shelter the homeless

  5. Visit the sick

  6. Visit the imprisoned

  7. Bury the dead

Seven spiritual works of mercy

  1. Counsel the doubtful

  2. Instruct the ignorant

  3. Admonish sinners

  4. Comfort the afflicted

  5. Forgive offenses

  6. Bear wrongs patiently

  7. Pray for the living and the dead