From the Principal Term 2 Week 8

Dear Parents and Guardians 

It is wonderful to be back in our Newman Community after seven weeks of undertaking the Marist Pilgrimage and Professional Renewal Leave.  

At the Pilgrimage, I had the opportunity to follow in the footsteps of St Paul and St Marcellin. St Paul’s three journeys into Asia Minor and Greece help spread the Gospel in those early years after Christ. The Paulene Church has formed our modern expression of faith and is evident in our own Marist Spirituality and Mission. Time spent in Champagnat country at the Hermitage, La Valla, Le Rossey and Lyon deepened my understanding of St Marcellin Champagnat’s vision, and work to make Christ known and loved to the forgotten and downtrodden in the most tumultuous times of the French revolutionary period. I hope to write more of these reflections in newsletters to come.  

I would like to thank Mr Michael Chiera and Mrs Beth Murphy whose leadership as Principal and Vice Principal in my absence was so positive and professional. Mrs Sarah Pagett assumed the role of Deputy Principal, Teaching and Learning K-12 and Ms Nicki Winterbourn covered Sarah’s role as Leader of Learning Support. Michael, Beth, Sarah and Nicki performed outstandingly and received excellent support by the College Executive and the whole staff. I thank Mrs Glenda Gillespie who took care of the Director of Finance and Operations’ role while Mr Steve Halley-Wright was on long service leave.  

Feast Day of St Marcellin  

Yesterday, June 6 marked the Feast Day of St Marcellin Champagnat. Our examination period falls on this date, so we will celebrate Champagnat Day fully next Friday (please see the Vice Principal’s section for details).  

St Marcellin faced many obstacles and uncertainties in his mission to provide education to young people, yet he remained steadfast in his commitment to making Jesus known and loved. As families and teachers, we are entrusted with the sacred task of shaping the hearts and minds of young people, we are grateful for the example of St Marcellin Champagnat, whose life continues to inspire us in our work as a Newman community. This year we celebrate the 25 Anniversary of the canonisation of St Marcellin Champagnat.  

In my pilgrimage, I was fortunate to be in Rome for this celebration and view the wonderful statue of Marcellin that sits on the outside wall of St Peter’s. Here is a wonderful reflection of the statue and I think it encapsulates our Marist Way. Happy Champagnat Day! 

The statue of Marcellin portrays his strength and determination. Upon his shoulders he bears the burden of universal childhood with tenderness and sensitivity. His essential human traits are given a Christian dimension though the symbol of the crucifix that he holds in his left hand. Children, especially those who are poor and neglected, are waiting upon the kind of educational setting that will assure them of being secure and loved. To create such a setting was Marcellin’s goal, and it radiates from the statue that brings to mind the image of the Good Shepherd. The positioning of feet and hands expresses an affective interplay, the good soil that receives both the word of God and the formative experiences of education. The child on the shoulders leans upon the head of Marcellin, a position from which to look out upon life. At the same time, the child’s foot reposes secure on Marcellin’s right hand. In its turn, the child-figure at the sculpture’s base leans against Champagnat’s foot to express a personal relation. The open book in the child’s hand recalls the educational opportunity in which the child will find delight; and the countenance bespeaks a special way of viewing life. The message: Marcellin’s humility and simplicity. 

Opening of Lavalla Building  

The joy of celebration continued this week with the first days of occupancy at Lavalla of the Year 3-6 building.  It is a superb facility supporting upper primary education and bringing us one step closer to One Campus One Community. We are planning the opportunity for families to view our new facility once the settling in process has taken place. 

Warm wishes for the weeks ahead.