A MESSAGE FROM THE PRINCIPAL
FEAST OF CORPUS CHRISTI, 18 JUNE 2017
Corpus Christi is the celebration of the abiding presence of a loving God as Emmanuel – “God with us” – in order to give collective thanks to our Lord living with us in the Eucharist. The feast gives us an occasion to learn more about the importance and value of the “Real Presence” so that we may appreciate the Sacrament better and receive maximum benefit from receiving Him.
Corpus Christi is a doctrinal feast established for three purposes:
- to give God collective thanks for Christ’s abiding presence with us in the Eucharist and to honour Him there;
- to instruct the people in the Mystery, Faith and devotion surrounding the Eucharist, and
- to teach us to appreciate and make use of the great gift of the Holy Eucharist, both as a Sacrament and as a sacrifice.
I would like to share an anecdote with the community about an astronaut who made a point of taking his Holy Communion in outer space.
Astronaut Mike Hopkins is one of those selected few. He spent six months on the International Space Station (ISS) in 2013. And though he was thrilled when he was chosen for a space mission, there was one Person he didn’t want to leave behind: Jesus in the Eucharist. Hopkins had been received into the Church less than a year before his launch. After a long wait, he was finally able to receive Our Lord at each Mass. Facing the prospect of being off the planet for half a year, he decided he had to find out if Jesus could travel with him. It turns out he could — and he did.
Hopkins said, “In 2011, I got assigned to a mission to the International Space Station. I was going to go up and spend six months in space, starting in 2013. So I started asking the question, ’Is there any chance I can take the Eucharist up with me into space?’ The weekend before I left for Russia — we launch on a Russian rocket from Kazakhstan — I went to Mass one last time, and [the priest with permission from his bishop] consecrated the wafers into the Body of Christ, and I was able to take the pyx* with me. NASA has been great. … They didn’t have any reservations about me taking the Eucharist up or to practicing my Faith in orbit. The Russians were amazing. I went in with all my personal items, and I explained what the pyx was and the meaning of it to me — because for them, they, of course, saw it just as bread, if you will, the wafers — and yet for me [I knew] it was the Body of Christ. And they completely understood and said, “Okay, we’ll estimate it weighs this much, and no problem. You can keep it with you.” All these doors opened up, and I was able to take the Eucharist up — and I was able to have Communion, basically, every week. There were a couple of times when I received Communion on, I’ll say, special occasions: I did two spacewalks; so on the morning of both of those days, when I went out for the spacewalk, I had Communion. It was really helpful for me to know that Jesus was with me when I went out the hatch into the vacuum of space. And then I received my last Communion on my last day on orbit in the ‘Cupola’, which is this large window that looks down at the Earth, and that was a very special moment before I came home.”
What an inspiration this man is for us. Let us reflect on Jesus, Emmanuel, Christ’s real presence with us, this weekend.
*container in which the consecrated bread of the Eucharist is kept
Regular attendance at school is essential for students to achieve quality life outcomes. Schools, in partnership with parents, are responsible for promoting the regular attendance of students.
The College publishes its term dates and assessment schedules and blocks well in advance and we expect that parents and students consult these BEFORE making plans for travel and other activities.
If your child has to be absent from school, you must tell the school and provide a reason for your child’s absence. To explain an absence parents and carers may be required to:
- send a note to the school, or contact the school via electronic means such as SMS text message, fax or email, or
- telephone the school, or
- visit the school.
We have been very clear in informing parents of the required procedures for contacting the school. Of late, we are receiving an increased number of applications for leave.
I will accept a small number of absences For example, if your daughter:
- has to go to a special religious ceremony
- is required to attend to a serious and/or urgent family situation (eg a funeral)
- is too sick to go to school or has an infectious illness.
Exemptions from attendance will only be granted in exceptional circumstances and these are:
- Employment in the entertainment industry (not auditions or coaching);
- Participation in elite sporting events (must represent a recognised National sporting body) for short periods of time i.e. for one or two days, and at short notice.
Parents should use the school holidays for travel and holidays. Requests for such leave may be declined by the Principal if it is not in the best interests of the student’s educational, social and participation reasons. There may be implications for the child’s academic progress and/or class placement upon return.
Real issues arise when students miss out on any assessment task due to travel or other leave requests. Often, I receive very little notice of such leave and yet, parents expect the College to make alternative arrangements.
If you choose to seek leave to travel or participate in other events, parents need to accept that to ensure assessment validity and reliability, your daughter will not be able to undertake the same in-class task as other girls. If there is little or no notice of travel, you can expect your daughter to receive a zero score for the task.
Those students who have applied with a term’s notice for travel can expect that they will either receive an estimate for the in-class task or be given an alternative in-class task. It will be left to the Teaching and Learning Coordinator to make this decision depending on the nature of the task.
The Homework Grid by Ian Lillico
There is quite a lot of debate both past and present about the worth of homework and its contribution to achievement.
Ian Lillico may be known to some of you. Lillico is renowned for his expertise and leadership in boys’ education and some time ago, developed a “homework grid” that recognises any work that students do at home. It was a way of getting students to “do something at home and not opt out of family life” (Lillico, 2004, p. 5) as well as emphasising diversity, family life and physical activity. The grid looks like this:
Read a variety of books including school books*
Be read to by another member of the family.
Shopping with parents.
Physical activity /Sport training.
Teach your parents something you were taught at school.
Play a game with an adult.
*Assignments / Project research
Meditation /Spiritual / Relaxation
Use computer for work only.
Cultural / Music practice
*Housework, homework and reading should be compulsory every night.
Lillico suggest that each cell in the grid can represent an amount of time over a fortnight and to make the cells appropriate depending on the age of the student. Each cell equates to:
10 minutes – Primary school
20 minutes – Lower secondary school (Years 7, 8 and 9)
30 minutes – Upper secondary school (Years 10, 11, 12)
Working with your daughter to develop a grid similar to this, will ensure a balance between family life and the academic demands throughout the year.
(Lillico, I. (2004). Homework and the homework grid. Tranton Enterprises, Duncraig Western Australia.)
Our mantra:“Girls can do anything. Bethany girls can do everything!* (*except divide by zero)” Vicki Lavorato Principal