ATConnect All >

The Easter Message

I remember reading a couple of years ago a Lenten message that spoke strongly to me, the message was from Fr Michael McKenna, Bishop of Bathurst. His message titled “Letting Go” was challenging the regular Easter message and it wasn’t what we might be used to hearing. But the underlying message was all too similar. It was about trusting your faith and in so doing being open to letting go of some things we hold dear to us and to be brave to envisage something new which can be life giving.

HIs 2014 message was ”On the first Easter Sunday, and according to John’s Gospel, Mary Magdalene stays at the empty tomb, weeping. Someone speaks to her. ‘Why are you weeping? Who are you looking for?’ She thinks it must be the gardener, until he calls her ‘Mary’. She looks up and it is Jesus. In her joy at seeing him alive she must have grasped hold of him. But he tells her “Do not cling to me.”

He is telling her that something new is happening. The Resurrection has changed everything. This means that his followers will now relate to him in a new way. And they will live in a new way, confident that the resurrection of the body is their future, too. ‘Do not cling to me.’ -another way of saying ‘Let go.’ It sums up a basic part of becoming a Christian. Our human tendency is to hold on to what has been good for us. We cling to things, to ways of operating and thinking, even people, well beyond the moment when we should have let go. It is not easy to release our grasp. It is possible when we believe that it will free us to receive something better.

Our journey as Christians together, which we call the Church, goes through these times of needing to let go of what has been good for us, so that God can give us something better. We fear it will be painful, and sometimes it is. It is a moment that tests our trust in God, and God’s way of building and renewing that trust. May the grace of the Easter season fill your hearts with new faith in God, whose plans for us are, as the prophet Jeremiah said, peace and not disaster. Christ is risen!”

Whilst it was challenging on the surface it reinforced for me the underlying message of Easter – take time to reflect on and nourish your faith. There isn’t one right way to have faith; what is important is that it is your faith, a faith that you personally are comfortable with, and it is OK for this faith to evolve and look different this year as to how it looked last year. We evolve, the world evolves and it is healthy for our faith to evolve as well. The important thing is we give time for this and Easter is always a gentle reminder to do this.

First Term

The upcoming holidays are no doubt looked on from a mixed perspective. Judging by the tired expressions on the faces of many of the students (and some teachers!!), it has been a busy term. This term has seen the majority of new students settling well into the ATC life and routine and most would feel that they have made new friends and feel comfortable in the community, once again the majority of students have positively engaged with each other as a community and there is a calm buzz about College life, the excitement of the new middle school facilities has overshone the frustrations the building delays brought early in the year, life has been busy on the sporting front with swimming, water polo, paddle play, triathlons and indoor and outdoor cricket busily engaging players, similarly cultural life at the College has been off to a flying start with large numbers of boys in the various bands, choirs and handbells, while the recent school camps were a great success in challenging boys. And this is just a short snapshot of the term, with many other excursions, activities and events filling the remainder of the time. I hope that the upcoming break is restful for both students and staff, because the reality we face is that the next term is going to be just as busy and there will be many opportunities for students to be challenged with and engaged in.

End of Term reports

The end of term 1 reports will be available to all families at the end of this week through SEQTA. The indications from the reports are that the majority of the students have settled well into the new classes this year and that they are making pleasing progress in their academic pursuits. I would remind parents that this first report is a snapshot of the start of the year and in particular how your son has begun the year. These reports serve to give you an insight into their application to their work and whether they are meeting general curriculum expectations. Given the short time frame, these are not definitive reports that are based on a range of tests rather they are largely an intuitive feel for how the students are coping with their work and their relationships within the classroom.

Staffing Changes

The end of term will realise a few changes on the staffing front. Sadly the end of term 1 will see Siobhan Brophy our College Counsellor taking nine months leave from the College. Siobhan is a highly valued member of staff and she will be dearly missed for the remainder of the year. Whilst we will miss her quiet, reassuring and calming presence around the College we are expecting this is to be only a temporary absence and we hope to see her back with us for the start of 2017. We wish her well for the remainder of 2016. In announcing Siobhan’s leave I am pleased to be able to announce that we have appointed Mr Paul Toon as Siobhan’s replacement for the rest of the year. Paul is a very experienced educator having worked across a number of schools as well as working in a variety of roles within the Edmund Rice network. In welcoming Paul to the ATC community, I am confident that Paul will make his transition into the role of College Counsellor very seamlessly. The end of term will also draw down the curtain on two very dear and long serving staff members, Alison Rumball and Joanne Ter Rahe; having worked at the College for a very long time as cleaners. Alison this year completes her 36th year with us and Joanne 29 years. This is a lifetime of commitment to our community and I know I speak for all our community in expressing our deep and sincere gratitude for their service to the College. Alison and Joanne are both very quiet and quite private ladies who have meticulously toiled away in their caring way often in a behind the scenes role. Whilst their work was often behind the scenes, the results were very obvious to all of us at the College. We wish them all the very best in their future endeavours and thank them for what they have given the College for so many years.

Congratulations

I would like to congratulate Mark and Georgie Watson on the recent birth of their daughter, Maggie. Maggie arrived into our world at a healthy 7lb 7 ozs and both Mum and baby are both well. We wish Mark, Georgie and Maggie well in their expanded family; Mark will be taking the first two weeks off next term on paternity leave.

Prayers

I would ask you to please keep Alex Stewart (8 B) and his family in your thoughts and prayers following the recent passing of his maternal grandmother. We hope that time will help heal the pain they will feel in her absence. Eternal rest grant unto her oh Lord, May perpetual light shine upon her, May she rest in peace. Amen.

Dad’s Network

Last week I shared my experiences from dropping into the Monday Dads’ Network meeting. It was a moving experience for me and I am grateful for Andy Roy facilitating this experience for so many Dads. Yesterday I read an email from one of our dads to Andy expressing his own thanks to him for the opportunity to join in with this group. I would like to share anonymously a part of this email that I think powerfully captures this father’s personal experience but also captures the real essence of what we are called to do as parents- to grow with our children.

“I must say that after some initial trepidation the program has been a real revelation for me and has enabled me to take a critical look at not just the way in which I go about my parenting to my son but to that of my other children and family life in general. …. I struggle to put into words the feelings this generates and what I thought was a change in him, is clearly a change in me and he is opening up to that change. It’s like I have a new son however I know that’s not the case, what I have is the same person whom is opening up to his dad and I’m seeing a whole new and exciting part to that of my son that has always been there. I dread to think what I might have missed out on and how I might have unknowingly smothered his growth, development and potential in the future if I had not attended your program.”

With best wishes

Michael Senior, Principal