We return to Term 2 with a focus on ANZAC Day. On Wednesday 24 April, our college community gathered to commemorate the ANZAC tradition with a solemn service led by student volunteers over our PA system. During the service, students gathered in their Learning Mentor Groups, engaging with a powerpoint presentation that deepened their understanding of the significance of ANZAC Day. The service featured a reflective rendition of the hymn ‘Abide with Me’ along with captivating imagery.

We lowered our flags to half-mast, read the famous poem ‘In Flanders Fields’, had a commemorative address, stood for the Ode of Remembrance, Last Post, observed a minute of silence, sounded The Rouse, and sang our National Anthem. As a concluding tribute, our College Captains and Principal laid a wreath at the foot of our flag poles, extending an invitation to the college community to pay their respects. Additionally, our community contributed to the ANZAC Appeal by purchasing merchandise, raising nearly $300.

Chloe Schoots, a Year 7 student, and Julie Wakfer, a Year 11 student, were honoured with the opportunity to lay a wreath at the Altona RSL ANZAC Commemoration Service on April 20th and the Dawn Service on April 25th, representing our college community. Coming from families with deep traditions of service in both war and peacekeeping operations, Chloe and Julie’s participation reflects their families' enduring commitment to commemorating such days with pride.

"On ANZAC Day, I had the privilege of representing the MSJ community at the Dawn Service held at Hobsons Bay City Council. When I was asked to lay the floral wreath on behalf of MSJ, I felt incredibly honoured and excited to represent my school and local community.

ANZAC Day holds a special place in my heart because it's a day when I wake up at dawn (even before the sun rises) to march in the ANZAC parade. Seeing all the men and women in their uniforms with medals fills me with pride for our country, Australia.

I want to express my gratitude to Ms. Severi, my parents, Bianca, Poppy, and a special thank you to my Nan for all her continued support. I also want to give a shout out to all the amazing staff at the Altona RSL; they always make me feel so welcome whenever I visit." - Chloe Schoots (7 Cameron 1)

“During the first week of Term 2, I had the opportunity to assist with planning our college's ANZAC Day service. Throughout the preceding week, Sophia Nicolious, Cath and Isabella Forest, Erin Childs, and I fundraised for the Altona RSL by selling ANZAC badges and other merchandise around the school. Annalise Sharp and Amelia Leung created a wonderful display on the school notice board outside the Cafe to commemorate the ANZACs who fought for our country.

On April 25th, I had the privilege of representing the MSJ community by laying a wreath at the Altona Cenotaph during the dawn service. I was accompanied by Chloe Schoots and my father, Sam Wakfer. It was an honour to pay homage to those who have served our country and remember those who were lost.

Many of my relatives have served in the Australian military, most notably my great-aunt Rachel Pratt. She was one of the first and only Australian women to be injured in the First World War, suffering a punctured lung and wounds to her back and shoulder while caring for wounded soldiers. She is one of only eight Australian nurses to receive the Military Medal, and her medals are on display at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra. My dad, Sam Wakfer, has also served in the Australian military for 25 years. He served in all three services: Army, Navy, and Airforce, and is a returned veteran.

The commitment of our servicemen and women, their courage, resilience, and dedication to keeping our country safe from the perils of war, is aspirational for all Australians. May we continue to remember them, Lest we forget.” - Julie Wakfer (Year 11 Solomon 4)

Year of Prayer

In anticipation of the church's jubilee year themed 'Pilgrims of Hope' in 2025, Pope Francis has designated 2024 as the 'Year of Prayer'. This call to prayer encourages us to reconnect with the fundamentals of our faith, nurturing ourselves spiritually and fostering gratitude and peace.

"I greatly desire that we devote 2024, the year preceding the Jubilee event, to a great 'symphony' of prayer," Pope Francis expressed. "Prayer, above all else, is to renew our desire to be in the presence of the Lord, to listen to Him, and to adore Him.”

In March, the Vatican released a resource guide called 'Teach Us to Pray', a 76-page volume crafted by the Dicastery for Evangelisation. Inspired by this guide, I wanted to share some key reflections. Consider beginning or ending each day with a moment of prayer or meditation, cultivating gratitude for our blessings, or praying for the needs of others. Grace before meals is a great practice, not only as an act of thanking God but also as an opportunity to unite a family and create cherished moments.

Revisit traditional Catholic prayers such as Our Father, Hail Mary, and Glory Be, allowing their familiar words to guide you deeper into our spiritual journey. Engage with the Word of God through daily scripture readings or selecting Psalms or letters for reflection, which nourish our souls and strengthen our faith.

Keep a prayer journal for personal reflections, where you could write prayers of petition, intercession, thanksgiving, or praise. Alternatively, take yourself outside for a meditative walk, allowing the beauty of nature to inspire your prayers and quiet your mind.

Attend Mass with renewed presence, arriving early for reflection amidst life's busyness, and meditating on the readings or the priest's homily to deepen your experience. During communion, devote prayers for loved ones, even naming them individually in our hearts. After Mass, instead of rushing off, linger a bit longer, absorbing the blessings and peace it offers.

Let's embark on this Year of Prayer as a transformative journey, returning to the core of our faith and reigniting the flame of our spirituality. By keeping it simple and making small adjustments to our prayer life, we can experience significant changes. St. Mary of the Cross MacKillop once said, 'Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.' As a Josephite community, let's be reminded of her profound words and the power of prayer to guide us in addressing the needs of our world and nurturing our relationship with God.

Farewell Father John Healey

We extend our heartfelt wishes to Fr. John as he embarks on his next chapter at the Parish of Woodend and the Parish of Lancefield/Romsey. Let us pray for the future of Holy Trinity Catholic Parish and we look forward to hearing of the new appointment in either July or August.