Welcome to the 2021 school year. A very big welcome to our new students, families and staff. We are confident that you will find our community one that is welcoming and supportive. Although there has been a little of a bumpy start to the year with a short lockdown, I am incredibly pleased with how well the year has commenced. The students have been genuinely happy to be back at school and have participated in classes with much enthusiasm.

Our theme for the year, Embracing the Heart’s Call, challenges us to reflect on who we are called to be, and how we can be more like Mary the Mother of Jesus and open our hearts and say yes to God’s call. It calls us to say yes and embrace the opportunities that are presented to us in our classes, in our work and to learn with wonder and curiosity.

It is about embracing the heart’s call by welcoming students and staff new to our College. It is calling us to say yes to standing up to injustices in our College and in our world. But most importantly, it is calling us to say yes to God’s love.

It was wonderful to be able to gather as a whole community for our beginning of the year assembly. During this assembly, I acknowledged the death of the College Sports Leader, Sue Sofarnos, last year and spoke about how we can, going forward, honour Sue. Sue introduced to the College a chant that she promoted at all events. That chant is - WE ARE MSJ! Sue would start the chant with WE ARE and students would respond with MSJ. This chant was to remind us all that we stand together, that we are all equal in the MSJ community, that we are proud to be a part of MSJ, and to be the best person we can be in all aspects of our lives. In honour of Sue, we will continue this chant.

It was delightful for us to welcome back a number of our 2020 VCE/VCAL high achieving students for an awards ceremony to acknowledge their success. In particular, I congratulate Caitlin Soto, College Dux. Caitlin achieved an ATAR of 98.4 and obtained a perfect 50 for Religion and Society. Congratulations to Ella Bibby and Nicole Parulan for also receiving a perfect 50 in their respective subjects; Food Studies and VET Music Performance. I am incredibly proud of all our VCE and VCAL students who showed so much maturity and resilience as they negotiated what was a very difficult year.

The second week of term was a very busy one as we also held our postponed 2020 Awards Assembly. My congratulations to all students who were recognised for their exceptional academic and community achievements. Once again, all students did an amazing job during 2020. Well done to all of our award winners and a full report can be found further in this newsletter. It was fabulous that we were able to celebrate Mass together last Friday. As always, Fr John Healy ensured that Mass was a meaningful, reflective and prayerful experience for us all. His homily emphasised our capacity and need to embrace the heart’s call throughout 2021.

On Friday 26 February over three hundred students attended the College Swimming Carnival at the Werribee Pool. It was a fabulous day, congratulations to McCormack House who were the winning house. Well done to all students who swam and participated with so much enthusiasm. A very big thank you to all the staff who assisted on the day.

As we continue to work through Term 1, please be aware of the numerous activities that are planned over the coming weeks and be assured that all COVID-safe requirements are being adhered to.

There are a number of issues and concerns in regard to the current MSJ bus services. These include the late departure times for some buses and overcrowding on others. I wish to assure parents that we are endeavouring to address these issues with Public Transport Victoria (PTV). As part of our strategy and plan, I will, in the coming weeks, ask parents to support and assist us in this process. If you have particular skills, contacts or connections that may be able to assist us, please contact me directly via kdishon@msj.vic.edu.au.

I encourage and challenge all members of our wonderful community to continue to be open to all the amazing learning, faith and wellbeing opportunities that the year will bring. Let us all embrace our theme, Embracing the Heart’s Call.

As we commence our Lenten journey, we turn to God, who gives us strength to turn outwards to our sisters and brothers. We are also reminded that we are all connected. We are all part of the one human family, with hopes, dreams and fears. Lent then, is a time to renew our relationships, with God and with one another. Let us commit today to doing just that.

God of love, fill my heart with your compassion and mercy. Throughout my Lenten journey, inspire me to come to know you better and to reach out in love to others.


Kate Dishon - Principal