Education in Faith

The Easter period is coming to a close, bookended by two significant events celebrating College life. Holy Week fell in the final week of Term 1 and was acknowledged with a whole-school liturgy commemorating the Stations of the Cross. This ancient ritual retraces the ‘Via Dolorosa’ or ‘Way of the Cross’ travelled by Jesus as he journeyed towards his death. Our liturgy reflected on 14 Scriptural Stations tracing Jesus’ final moments with his loved ones, the depth of his anguish as he faced the suffering to come, and the physical torment of his crucifixion. Our highly creative staff and students offered contemporary reflections on the Scripture, inviting us to consider how the story continues to inspire and motivate our lives today. Connections were made with issues such as bullying and exclusion, Indigenous Reconciliation, violence against women, and the persecution of ethnic minorities across the world. It was a beautiful time to gather in silent reflection and appreciate the giftedness of our staff and students.

Our liturgy concluded with an invitation to take the message forward through all our words and actions.

Below is an excerpt as read by Amelia Vivera, Year 11

The image of the scapegoat powerfully mirrors and reveals our human tendency to transfer our pain onto someone else, by singling others out for unmerited negative treatment. In dying, Jesus refuses to buy into the usual pattern of revenge, teaching us that we can “follow him” in doing the same.

On the cross, Jesus showed us how to hold pain and let it transform us rather than project it elsewhere. We are invited to gaze upon the image of the crucified and to realise that God the Father suffers with Jesus. We see how God yearns to be with us, most especially in our suffering. God suffers with us. This allows us to look upon all who suffer, including ourselves, with compassion.

In the tomb, Jesus is enfolded in the loving embrace of God the Father. We too, in our darkest moments, when all hope seems lost, can draw on the knowledge at the core of our being - we are utterly, completely, fully loved and do not suffer alone.

The essence of the Christian story is that death is not the end! There always remains the possibility to start afresh, to breathe new life into every situation, no matter how dark. Just as light shines brightest in the dark, so too does Easter joy abound most abundantly when emerging from the tomb.

For us, the students of MSJ, this is the challenge that lies before us in the remainder of the year. How will we continue to breathe new life into all we do, to be the light for the future?

The following is a recollection from Kesara Brocas-Reti, Year 10

On Monday 29 March, the school produced a wonderful assembly for the Stations of the Cross, to celebrate the end of Lent and the Easter period. As a drama student performing in the first station - Jesus Prays in the Garden of Gethsemane - I took part in many class rehearsals in preparation for the assembly. As a class, we choreographed and designed our own parts to a music piece chosen by our talented teacher, Ms Anastasi. We chose costumes and worked on our aim for the performance. We wanted to present a very intense and dramatic portrayal of the station with a focus on the art of physical theatre. On the day of the assembly, my classmates and I performed beautifully. Even with some last minute complications, we were able to successfully perform our piece to a high standard. Most importantly, we all enjoyed performing our act for the rest of the school and had fun together. Overall, the experience was amazing. As a class, we were able to develop our choreography and performance skills while also celebrating the Easter period and the story of Jesus.

The challenge has been taken up by our students with Term 2 well underway. Our prayer focus throughout May has been Mary, the mother of Jesus, as we invite our students to reflect on her loving presence throughout the life and ministry of Jesus. This aligns beautifully with the College theme for 2021, ‘Embracing the Heart’s Call’ and the student-led theme for upcoming MMADD Day celebrations - female powerhouses. MMADD Day falls in the final week of Easter and will be celebrated on the feast of Sr Irene McCormack, Sister of St Joseph martyred in Peru in 1991. Sr Irene was murdered by the Shining Path terrorist group while serving impoverished communities in the Huasahuasi District, living from the mantra, “I really believe and have experienced that the more committed you are, the freer you are.” We will reflect on the story of Sr Irene as part of our MMADD Day celebrations, continually inviting our students to be all they can be in loving relationship with one another.

Andrea Grant

Director of Catholic Identity