It was nice to see the student's smiling faces walk through the gates on Tuesday morning. I hope that students had a nice break and that you and your family were able to spend some quality time together. My family and I spent some time in Orange and Bathurst in the first week of the holidays. The second week was spent between home and school.
As we enter another school term, we are again faced with ongoing challenges surrounding COVID. I will continue to keep the lines of communication open with you, when new information arises.
In case you missed my email on Tuesday, here is the information that was contained in it.
Now that COVID is starting to re-appear in some areas of the country, we have been sent some guidelines that we need to follow here at St Anne’s. We appreciate your support in advance and apologise for any inconvenience that this may cause you.
Schools continue to be safe and operations are in line with AHPPC and NSW Health guidelines. Schools continue to monitor and plan for any changes in local circumstances.
All students should be learning on-campus unless they are unwell.
Non-essential visitors are not to enter school grounds.
Parents must physically distance themselves from one another and staff at pick-up and drop-off. Unfortunately, we also request that you do not enter school grounds at pick-up or drop-off times.
If you need to enter school grounds, you must attend the front office and sign a “Visitors to School Site Form”. This applies to anyone helping out at the canteen as well.
We apologise, but due to the updated restrictions, we will not be holding face-to-face meetings with you next week. However, we will be calling you at the time you requested.
Most staff will need to use their personal phones to call you and therefore we kindly ask that you answer the call if it displays the “no caller id” message.
Please be close to your phone at the booked time.
We would like your child to be present during the phone call as well.
If you miss the phone call, your child’s teacher will attempt to call you again. Please do not call the school office as the teachers will be in different parts of the school on other phone calls.
Unfortunately, we will not be able to run showcase this year. This decision was not made lightly and I am sure that it will be received with disappointment.
The current and foreseeable restrictions do not permit us to congregate in such a large number or organise such events.
As you can appreciate, showcase requires a term of preparation and we are not able to predict what the COVID restrictions will be like.
We have thought about alternative methods of conducting Showcase, but we continue to hit hurdles.
This weekend we celebrate the Feast Day of Saints Anne & Saints Joachim.
Dearest Saints Joachim and Anne, Pray that our families may grow in holiness and that our homes may become grace filled sanctuaries of love. By your powerful intercession, protect and guide all grandparents that they may be great examples of faith. In these current times of pandemic, Lord, please protect our Church, take care of our families, our parishioners and those who are sick. Lord, we commend to you all those who are dear to us, especially at this time our parents and grandparents. Amen.
Sacraments - At this stage there are no plans to move ahead Sacraments for 2020. We continue to be guided by the advice of the relevant bodies, with consideration for our local context and consultation among the sacramental team.
School Masses - Unfortunately these continue to be on hold at the moment. The students will be celebrating the school feast day of St Anne and St Joachim next week in class. This weekend, July 26th is the official feast day. What could be more important than the parents who brought up the Virgin Mary to be the woman she was? At the moment of consenting to the Incarnation she took the most important decision ever taken by any human being, and the fact that she took it is, to a great extent, the work of her parents. The Holy Spirit gave her the strength to take the decision; but her parents’ training gave her the wisdom to choose.
For all parents, we must seek to bring our children up to the best of our ability, to meet challenges that, like Anne and Joachim, we have no way of even imagining.
The Western Region Spirituality Day - The first day of this term was a wonderful opportunity for the staff of the 13 schools of the Western Region to join together and be inspired by the wisdom of Father Richard Leonard who joined us here in Temora. A last minute tightening of restrictions meant that we were ‘joined’ remotely by all 12 of the other schools having to connect via zoom to hear the presentation. It was none-the-less thought provoking and challenging as Fr Richard highlighted the media saturated culture that exists today and explored with us the impacts that this has in Catholic education and the associated challenges.
A huge thank you is extended to Milly Murphy, Abbey Reinhold, Hannah Cooper and Isabelle Gaynor for giving of their time so generously on their last day of the school holidays. The girls were amazing with their catering, in support of Noelene Williams who has worked tirelessly to ensure that catering was meticulously arranged and prepared for the initial 100 staff from the region. A huge thank you to Noelene, Liz, Virginia and Heather and many of the staff who helped to prepare for the day. Special thanks is especially extended to Brendan Park for the amazing support of IT needed to reach all of the schools.
This week’s Gospel Reflection:
Take time to consider the implications of your choices and your response to God’s call of service.
When we hear or read this Sunday’s Gospel (Mt 13:44-52), we can see it as a commentary on what God has done for us. Humanity can be seen as the treasure in the field that God has sold everything to own. We are the pearl of great price that God has moved heaven and earth to possess and we are the fish caught up in the net of God's love.
Our God is the one who became one like us, in Jesus the Lord, so that we might know, love and serve him. That's what today's Gospel is all about.
Jesus reminds his disciples that in glimpsing the things of heaven they have to be like the master of a household. That's a rich image. In Jesus' day such a person would have provided protection, love, security and justice for all.
God has given us free will and treasures, both new and old, to help us protect each other, love each other, feel secure in the truth and act justly. But we need to know that the choices we make in regard to these things have implications for how we live now and in the life to come. Perhaps we should take some time to consider and truly evaluate the choices which we make for ourselves, and likewise, consider the impact that these choices also have on others.
The First Reading links with the themes of treasure and delight in that Solomon chose to be of service to others. He is a model for disciples to follow. We have discovered the treasure in the field; we have found the pearl of great price. What we have been given, we must now give to others. In giving we will lose nothing. In fact, we gain an abundance of blessings. All things work for good, and God is glorified in all. Such is the character of the kingdom of God.
(Adapted from commentaries by Fr Richard Leonard SJ & Dianne Bergant CSA)