Mission Report – July 20, 2017

July 19, 2017

Welcome to Term Three and all the blessings that await us. May all your recent attempts to keep warm have been successful, for Ballarat has lived up to its reputation as we gather together once again to start another term.

Last term ended for staff with our annual Staff Formation days. This is a time when all our staff are invited to pray, discuss and reflect upon the deepest reasons for our actions. This year we were led by Mr Michael McGirr who is currently Dean of Faith at St Kevin’s College Toorak -“ a fellow Edmund Rice school. Through stories of humour and great and gentle insight Michael offered us reflections on our Touchstones:

  • Liberating Education

  • Inclusive Community

  • Gospel Spirituality

  • Justice and Solidarity

Two key points I pass on for your own prayer and reflection. Firstly, the Gospel is full of surprises and challenges from Jesus. Often we can reduce the Gospel down to a few familiar passages so that it can become sanitised and -‘predictable’.- There is a richness of reading the whole Gospel and encountering the life-changing call of Jesus and his personal invitation to a richer way of living and loving.

Secondly, Liberating Education is not a set of final criteria that we are to follow, but a journey to freedom. Liberation begins in the small steps away from the fear and pride that bind us to a lonely path, towards the path of love and openness that only God’s love and grace can offer. It is the path we discover when we encounter the Jesus of the Gospel. As a staff, this is the path we try to walk to assist families in the education of their sons. Our sincere thanks to Michael for his time with us.

A final word of thanks. The staff days are a great time of friendship and renewal. The nature of the days is created in large part due to the co-operation of two key teams. Rosemary Lamb and the catering team offer the fellowship of great food and a warm cup of tea. Mark McLean and his cleaning team transform the Pavilion several times over the two days into a space of conversation and prayer. For both teams this involves working late and starting early so the staff program can run smoothly.

St Patrick’s College continues to be a complex community that requires the work of many people in a great variety of roles in order to engage with the four terms of a school year. As our Formation days reminded us, all this activity and the claim to any achievement rests on the blessings of our Loving God, encountered in the Risen Christ. May your term be rich in blessings.