A MESSAGE FROM THE PRINCIPAL

Dear Parents, Carers and Friends of Bethany,

Welcome back to Term 4. Our girls have come back looking refreshed and are already immersing themselves in the challenges that Term 4 brings.

In Australia, the last Sunday in September is called Social Justice Sunday and the Australian Catholic Bishops produce a social justice statement for the year ahead with a particular focus on one aspect of Catholic Social Teaching which is relevant to society at the time. As this occurred during our recent break, I thought I would share this with you because of its relevance to families.

For those of us who are not ‘digital natives’, finding our way around the wide range of contemporary digital platforms can be challenging. Fear of falling victim to hoaxes, fake news, privacy breaches – or just wasting time scrolling endlessly through social media feeds – can hold us back. Some of us find it difficult to learn new technologies, and appreciate the help of younger people who know how to make use of them. Listening to people in parishes, I hear that often it is the desire to keep in touch with far flung family and friends that draws us to engage with social media. Our parishes, schools and other Catholic organisations have been quick to embrace the positive possibilities for communication and connection, and Pope Francis himself encourages us to ‘boldly become citizens of the digital world’.

People of all generations hunger for friendship and genuine human encounter because we are made for community. Our digital world enables us to be more connected than ever before, but sadly it can also be a place of manipulation, exploitation and violence. This too calls us to active citizenship because, at their heart, these problems are not technological, but rather moral. We can choose how we behave online, and we can collectively shape the online world, building a more just and loving online neighbourhood.

For example, as more and more essential services such as banking move online, we need to act together as a community to ensure digital inclusion so that our neighbours are not left by the side of the digital highway. It is also becoming increasingly clear that digital platforms require wise governance and that international cooperation is required to achieve this. The common good requires intervention rather than leaving digital platforms to govern themselves.

In this Social Justice Statement, the Australian Bishops invite you to reflect on how the internet has changed the way we communicate, work, learn, and do business – and how we can contribute towards a more just and loving digital world. We are called to ‘make real’ the love of God in the lives of our neighbours – both offline and on.  

 

Most Rev. Terence J Brady DD

Delegate for Social Justice

Bishops Commission for Social Justice – Mission and Service

Making it Real Genuine Human Encounter in Our Digital World Social Justice Statement 2019-20

 

Did You Know?

*every day, over one million people worldwide are coming online for the first time

*the world’s average internet user spends over six and a half hours online each day

*the top three websites visited are Google, YouTube and Facebook

*on average, social media users spend over two hours on social media platforms each day

*Facebook has 2.3 billion active user accounts; YouTube, 1.9 billion; WhatsApp, 1.5 billion; Instagram, 1 billion

*five billion people use mobile phones[i]

[i] We Are Social & Hootsuite, Digital 2019: Global internet use accelerates, accessed May 1, 2019b, https://wearesocial.com/au/blog/2019/01/digital-2019-global-internet-use-accelerates, 2, 5, 7, 9–10.

As a Catholic Community, we ask that you discuss this statement with your daughter in the light of digital usage worldwide, including that of developing nations, the aspect of Catholic Social Teaching pertaining to how we treat people in the digital world and the need to maintain relationships and the presence of individuals that is genuine amongst the busyness that our devices have led us to.

 

SOCIAL JUSTICE

On the last day of last term, we launched our re-established connection with St Vincent de Paul on our Staff Development Day.  Staff were involved in the donation and wrapping of gifs as well  as the preparation of food packs for those people living on the street. In the last week of last term, Year 8 and 9 busily made refuel packs of snacks which have also been donated. Last Tuesday we further offered students an opportunity to be of service by making sandwiches for St Vincent de Paul to take out on to the streets as part of their usual Night Patrol Service. All students have the opportunity on one afternoon per month to give either a lunchtime or one hour after school to help create packs or make sandwiches as part of the commitment Bethany has made to be on a regular roster. We were overwhelmed with staff and students giving of their time and we thank them for this. Our next opportunity is Tuesday November 19. Between now and then, we are asking for donations of new items of mens and womens underpants and socks. If each family were to donate just one of these items, it would provide many people with basic clothing that makes people who are living rough, feel better about themselves. Next time that you go shopping, it would be appreciated if you could please purchase either some socks or underpants and ask your daughter to place this in the donation bin near student services. This is one small way that we can make a big difference. Please encourage your daughter to give of her time for the sake of others.

 

STUDENT LEADERS 2020

Congratulations to our new student leaders for 2020. This team of 20 students plus transport monitors have already had a day of planning their vision of student leadership for Bethany for the year ahead. The girls have big plans to create the best opportunities for student voice in the school, with a real focus on social justice. I look forward to working in partnership with this team of students.

 

 

 

 

 

Robyn Rodwell

College Principal