Volume 5 - 07 Apr 2017



With five Sundays down, the Lenten journey continues.

As the penitential season moves along, so must the introspection of the Christian disciple. The believer must be cautious not to get stuck in overthinking things. There is a serious danger of a certain navel gazing that impedes a real course of action for change and reform.

The Christian has to be cautious about the comfort and at times self-indulgence that interior reflection can provide or nurture. At some point, in the midst of her thoughts and feelings, the believer just has to get out of her own head or heart and just do something.

But what? What actions are recommended to the believer as she seeks to adjust and realign her life after some very serious Lenten soul-searching?

Before describing spiritual action items, it might be helpful to name some of the bad spirits that Lent is meant to help us fight and leave behind.

In his Lenten Message this year, Pope Francis refers to the story of the Rich Man and Lazarus, which is found in the teachings of Jesus Christ. In the account, the Rich Man is absorbed in himself and neglects Lazarus, who is a poor and sick man suffering at his very doorpost. When the Rich Man dies, his omission toward Lazarus merits him a place in hell. He is in torment and sees Lazarus in heaven, in the “bosom of Abraham.”

Influenced by his Jesuit spirituality, Pope Francis uses the biblical story to identify the three bad spirits of greed, vanity, and pride. He explains the progressive corruption of the human person through them, writing: “[Money] is the main cause of corruption and a source of envy, strife and suspicion… it can come to dominate us, even to the point of becoming a tyrannical idol. Instead of being an instrument at our service for doing good and showing solidarity towards others, money can chain us and the entire world to a selfish logic that leaves no room for love and hinders peace.”

The pope continues: “…the rich man’s greed makes him vain. His personality finds expression in appearances, in showing others what he can do. But his appearance masks an interior emptiness. His life is a prisoner to outward appearances, to the most superficial and fleeting aspects of existence.”

And finally, Pope Francis observes: “The lowest rung of this moral degradation is pride. The rich man dresses like a king and acts like a god, forgetting that he is merely mortal. For those corrupted by love of riches, nothing exists beyond their own ego. Those around them do not come into their line of sight. The result of attachment to money is a sort of blindness. The rich man does not see the poor man who is starving, hurting, lying at his door.”

In identifying these enemies of the human soul, the question remains: In seeing these bad spirits within her, what actions can the believer do to remedy this spiritual sickness?

In having the question posed in such a context, the traditional practices of almsgiving, fasting, and prayer take on a new light as they are seen as the tested and proven answers to the question and as the necessary actions of the person who wants a healthy soul and a strong spirit.

We are called to follow the more excellent way of love taught and modelled by Jesus Christ. They are actions that call the believer out of her own thoughts and feelings and create a forum for grace to work and flourish within her soul.

This is the summons and labour of Lent. What begins in the heart is to be worked out in the world, and the practices of almsgiving, fasting, and prayer are the trusted tools for the fight against greed, vanity, and pride.

(Father Jeffrey Kirby, 2/4/2017, www.cruxnow.com )



  • At the end of this term, we farewell a teacher who has been with us for only a short-time, Mrs VandenHengel, who was job-sharing with Mrs Camer. We wish her well in the future.
  • We welcome Miss Clarissa Bellissimo to the College who takes on the role that Mrs Camer and Mrs VandenHengel shared, teaching English and Drama to Years 7 to 10.
  • We congratulate Mrs Camer and Mrs Criniti who have announced that they are both expecting their second child.
  • We thank Ms Carrabs who has filled in for Miss Mirabello whilst she has been on sick leave.
  • From 22 May 2018:
    • Miss Grimm will become the Acting Year 8 Coordinator; and
    • Mrs Moroney will be the Acting Assistant Year 7 Coordinator.
  • Mrs Loren Pelham will shortly be leaving Bethany following her appointment as an Assistant REC at another school.  We thank her for her years of dedicated service to the College and wish her well.   Mrs Pelham’s replacement is yet to be confirmed.




We have contact from a few parents who are concerned at the lateness of buses on our school special routes. We faithfully report all of your concerns, however, they are best directed to the bus company itself on the following number 8700 0555. In reality, we are fortunate to have so many free, special bus services for our girls and in the context of the congestion on local roads, it is natural that buses will run late at times, often trying to traverse heavy school afternoon traffic. It is not too much to ask that students wait for their bus connections under teacher supervision. Transdev is committed to providing its bus services to children within 30 minutes of the end of their school day and to date, the vast majority of our buses are here well before 3:30pm.




David de Carvalho is chief executive of the NSW Education Standards Authority and he recently was interviewed about the link between NAPLAN and the HSC for Year 9 (2017) and the cohorts who follow them.

Myth 1: Students need to get Band 8 or above in year 9 NAPLAN tests to qualify to sit for the HSC.

False. No student will be excluded from sitting for the HSC on the basis of their year 9 NAPLAN results.

Achieving a Band 8 or higher in the year 9 reading, writing and numeracy is a great result, and means they already have reached the minimum standard. But year 9 NAPLAN is just the first of many opportunities students have to pre-qualify to the HSC minimum standard. 

Students will be able to sit the online literacy and numeracy tests at least twice in each of Year 10, Year 11 and Year 12, if they need to, and they will only need to take online tests in those areas in which they haven’t achieved the minimum standard.

Any student will be able to sit their HSC exams and receive their HSC results regardless of whether they have met the minimum standard or not. Those who have not met the standard when their HSC results are issued have five years from when they started the HSC to meet the standard and receive their HSC credential.

For the few who don’t meet the minimum standard within this timeframe, a Record of School Achievement will be awarded – the credential already available to students who leave school before the HSC.

Myth 2: Band 8 raises the bar too high for year 9 students.

The bar is not being raised.  NAPLAN Band 6 is the year 9 student benchmark. This has not changed. It is not an expectation that all students in year 9 should attain Band 8s, but if they do, they have pre-qualified for the HSC minimum standard.

Myth 3: Linking the HSC and year 9 NAPLAN is unnecessarily stressful for students.

To the contrary, linking year 9 NAPLAN results to the HSC minimum standard will ensure students who may need support to achieve this important functional level of literacy and numeracy are identified earlier – and helped to acquire the skills.

Myth 4: This should not go ahead, because some students will be disadvantaged.

As is the case with NAPLAN tests and the HSC exams, students with a learning, sensory or physical disability will be able to access disability provisions to provide them with a fair opportunity to respond to the online literacy and numeracy tests. Students with an intellectual disability undertaking Life Skills English or Mathematics courses will be exempt from the HSC minimum standard requirement.

Mr De Carvalho makes an excellent point that “Education policy should express our aspirations for society. To students – and their parents – we should say let’s embrace this challenge because settling for anything less than a functional level of literacy and numeracy for the HSC would be a disservice to us all”.






In Week 2, Term 2 (1 to 5 May 2017), Dr Dan White, will be assuming the Principalship of Bethany College in my absence. Dr White is committed to experiencing our schools from the ground up and as such, will take on the Principal’s role and get about to meet as many teachers, staff and students as he can.

During that week, he will be hosting a forum for parents on Tuesday, 2 May from 9:30am-11:00am. If you are free and wish to attend, please click on this link to RSVP https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/GCWFVFM  





Our mantra:

“Girls can do anything.
Bethany girls can do everything!*
(*except divide by zero)”
Vicki Lavorato

Careers News


The last careers presentation for Term 1 was on Wednesday 22nd March. The University of Wollongong provided students with information on courses, exchange opportunities and early entry schemes. The theatre wasn’t enough space for all the interested students who spilled into the aisles. This was an informative session and I hope provided students with valuable information. I look forward to the presentations planned for Term 2.                           


UAC Information evening

On Tuesday 28th March UAC held an information evening at Sydney Technical Boys High School to outline the changes to University applications in 2017. It was good to see quite a few Bethany students and their parents attend to get a better understanding of the new procedures. No doubt this was informative and helped students understand the new changes and how the Tertiary rank is calculated.



Presentations organised for Term 2

The following presentations have been organised for Term 2. Please encourage your daughters to attend as many of these talks as possible so as to gain a greater awareness of the varied post school options that are available to them:

10th May        University of Arts London (courses) – Lunchtime, Room: SO301

                          Global Volunteering – Lunchtime, Room: SO308

19th May        UTS (courses) and Accounting Scholarships – Lunchtime, Room: Theatre

5th June          UNSW (courses) – Lunchtime, Room: Theatre

14th June       Camp America – Lunchtime, Room: SO301



Good Universities Survey – Australian university ratings and rankings 2016/2017 Overall quality ratings

This rating looks at the proportion of students who were satisfied with the overall quality of their educational experience. The section below provide a series of ratings and insights across a range of indicators. On the premise that no institution is superb at everything, these rankings are high-level indicators and should be used to gain comparative insights into the varying strengths and characteristics of each institution.



UTS Bachelor of Accounting Information Evening

16 May 6.30 to 7.30pm

Aerial Function Centre, UTS Building 10 (level 7), 235 Jones Street, Ultimo 

Come along to hear more about the Bachelor of Accounting Co-op Scholarship Program here at UTS. Register for our free Information Evening on 16 May 2017 at www.bachelorofaccounting.com For more information email carin.alberts@uts.edu.au 


College Week Live International Students Day Virtual College Fair

10 May 4.00am to 4.00pm

This free online event is your chance to text or video chat directly with top universities all across the U.S. and around the world.



Charles Sturt University MyDay

See where your course can take you at CSU MyDay.


12 May                 Teaching and Education, Nursing, IT, Accounting, and Business

27 June                 Allied Health


10 April               Communication and Creative Industries, Exercise and Sport Science, Policing and CriminalJustice, and Paramedicine

9 June                   Engineering

16 June               Computer Science, IT, Accounting, Business, Nursing, Teaching and Education, and Psychology


20 June               Info Day – All Courses


11 April               Clinical Science, Dental Science, Pharmacy, and Physiotherapy

Port Macquarie

20 & 21 June      Info Day – All Courses & Online    

3 July                   Exercise and Sport Science, Paramedicine, Physiotherapy, and Medical Radiation Science

4 July                   Accounting, Outdoor Recreation and Ecotourism, Business, Communication and Creative Industries, Policing and Criminal Justice, Teaching and Education, Psychology, and Social Work

Wagga Wagga

7 April                 Communication and Creative Industries, Teaching and Education, Psychology, Social Work, Medical Radiation, Medical Science & Dentistry, Nursing, IT, Accounting, & Business

10 April              Agriculture

11 April                Agriculture

3 and 4 July        Animal and Veterinary Sciences


Charles Sturt University Live

Student life and course experiences at Charles Sturt.



University of Newcastle Schools Visit Day

29 June

Talk to current students, staff and tour the uni.



University of Newcastle (UON) Science and Engineering Challenge

Through to 11 August

Year 10s students to compete and have fun experiencing various forms of science and engineering.



UON Port Macquarie Information Session

3 August.  4.00pm to 7.00pm

Meet staff and current students about  nursing, midwifery and  primary teaching, course options.



University of Queensland’s Women in Engineering Day

4 May

St Lucia Campus

Years 10, 11 and 12 students experience engineering such as rocket ships and robots. Meet current students and learn about uni life.



University Of Wollongong (UOW) Year 10 Subject Selection Information Evenings

1 May.  6.30pm

UOW McKinnon Building

2 May. 6.30pm

Gymea Tradies  Club

9 May. 6.30pm

UOW South Western Sydney Campus (Liverpool)

HSC subject advice and where it can lead when applying to university.



Southern Cross University Rising Star Scholarships

Rising Star Scholarships to support you if you thought you may not be able to attend Uni.



Southern Cross University Graduate Student Stories

See how students went from their course into their chosen career.




University of Melbourne Interstate Student Info Day

21 April. 9.00 to 4.30pm

Parkville campus, Melbourne

Interstate year 12 students and families find out about the application process and accommodation.

Lois Carlton, Recruitment Relationship Manager  lcarlton@unimelb.edu.au 03 8344 8809



Bond with Bond event in Sydney

26 June. 6.00pm to 8.00pm

Sofitel Sydney Wentworth, 61-101 Phillip Street.

Register: https://bond.edu.au/event/47694/bond-bond-sydney


What to do if you choose the wrong degree

Some good advice to plan what to do if you feel you are in the wrong course.



University of Canberra Schools Recommendation Scheme

Secure an UC degree offer by your school recommending




Pre-apprenticeship courses available in carpentry and joinery 

TABMA Workforce and Career Development have a number of pre-apprenticeship courses available in carpentry and joinery. The courses are open to students from 15 years who can be released from school to attend. The courses consist of 2 weeks at a TAFE college followed by 2 weeks practical work experience with one of our host employers. Please contact us on 92773100 for further information. 


Sydney TAFE Career Guide

Careers to courses quick guide and support services provided.



Canberra Institute of Technology Course Guide

Training on most careers for an apprenticeship, certificates, diplomas and degrees.




Scholarship applications for semester 2 are opening soon at William Angliss Institute 

Opens on 10 April for new students commencing in July intake.

William Angliss Institute has been a specialist training centre in foods, travel & tourism, hospitality scholarship offers generous scholarships to help disadvantaged students with financial support in achieving their goals.

Please visit https://www.angliss.edu.au/scholarships


William Angliss Institute Trail-a-Trade, Sydney

11 April. 10.00am to 12.00pm

4 July.  10.00am to 12.00pm

26 September. 10.00am to 12.00pm

Fun real life experience of being a chef, barrister or pastry chef.



Taste of Le Cordon Blue

16 May. 6.30pm to 8.30pm

8 August. 6.30pm to 8.30pm

31 October.  6.30pm to 8.30pm

250 Blaxland Road, Ryde

See current students work in action and hear about career opportunities.

Book with Terry Patriarca at australiahub@cordonbleu.edu



National Institute of Circus Arts Come & Try Day

8 April

Classes run each term. Consider doing a Bachelor of Circus Arts from Swinburne.



Whitehouse Institute of Design partnership with The Woolmark Company 

Closes 26 July

The TWC’s Wool4School Student Design Competition for 2017. The Winner will be offered a scholarship (full tuition fees) to the Bachelor of Design at Whitehouse Institute of Design commencing 2018. For more information on Wool4School go to: 




St Patrick’s Institute of Education Info Day

10 April

Level 1, 65 York Street, Sydney

Business and Business Administration courses and employment opportunities.



Martin College Weekly Campus Tours

Business, Marketing, Events, Tourism, Design and Technology qualifications with face to face and online study options.



Be part of the future of marketing with the Diploma of Social Media Marketing 

Diploma of Social Media Marketing is designed to help create the next generation of social media experts. Key competencies include the creation of marketing strategies and implement and manage campaigns across all major social media networks. 




Cadetship opportunities for future teachers 

Students can work part-time in a school whilst studying and graduate with a permanent teaching position with a cadetship from the NSW Department of Education. Students can sign up for an ‘alert me’ to be notified when applications open in May. Head to the website 


Teach in a rural NSW school 

Do you have students in Years 10 -12 who are interested in becoming a teacher in a rural NSW school? The NSW Department of education is offering scholarships to school students with a guaranteed permanent job, financial assistance throughout the course of study and $5000 appointment allowance. Head to this website to find out more https://www.teach.nsw.edu.au/getpaidtostudy/teach-rural-scholarships

Work experience at the Australian Museum in 2017 

Applications open 13 March 2017 and close 7 April 2017 

In 2017, the Australian Museum will offer work experience opportunities to students in Years 10, 11 and 12. For more information and the application form, visit: 



Employment Guide 2017 by Chartered Accountants ANZ 

Are you seeking to inspire your students to pursue a business, accounting or finance career? The Employment Guide 2017 features over 70 employers in ACT and NSW, who are specifically targeting students interested in accounting, business and finance to fill their cadetship, internship and casual positions. Download your free copy here: 



For STEM students – extra 200 places at NYSF 2018 

Closes 31 May

Applications for National Youth Science Forum 2018 are now open

Applicants should be passionate about science/technology and interested in learning about study and career options in wide range of STEM fields. Up to 600 places available in 2018 – program runs in January before year 12. Info at:




 Australia’s fastest growing online job listings.



Heywire Competition

Closes 15 September

Are you over 16 and live in regional NSW ? Tell a story about your life in text, video, photo or audio. http://www.abc.net.au/heywire/


Student Leadership Resources

Developing in your students effective practice of student leadership.



Work Experience Directory

Link for students to companies offering work experience.


Below is a link to an upcoming Careers Expo. I have nine (9) free passes to this expo to give away to the first 9 students who come and see me in the Careers room.




De La Salle College Ashfield Ex-Students and Staff Annual Reunion Dinner

From the Assistant Principal

Important Dates

  • Friday 7/4:  Last Day of Term 1
  • Monday 24/4:  Staff Development Day
  • Wednesday 26/4:  Students return for Term 2
  • 9/5-11/5:  NAPLAN Y7 and 9
  • 15/5:  Students to wear full winter uniform



As the days are cooling down and the crisp Autumn air arrives, you are reminded that the jumper is not a part of the Summer uniform. If students are cold they need to wear their blazer to and from the College and the jumper may be worn as the outer garment at school only . Please refer to your daughter’s planner for any clarification of uniform requirements.


Teenage parties, drug and alcohol use:

Last week I attended a presentation by Paul Dillon on the latest research and statistics around school students and parties, driving, alcohol and drug use.The fabulous news is that cigarette smoking has rapidly decreased in school age students, and more school age students are identifying as non drinkers under the age of 18. The statistics, however indicate that Year 10 seems to be the period where students tend to be more likely to access alcohol at parties, sleepovers and dance events. The take home message from this presentation was about age appropriate monitoring and asking ourselves the following questions:

  • Do we know who they are with?
  • Do we know where they are?
  • Do we know what they are doing?

Paul challenged us to reflect: How do we know?

  • Do we take them into the homes of the host, or do we pick up / drop them at the door?
  • Have we spoken to parents hosting?
  • Do we trust what our teenagers are telling us? If so how many of us were 100% honest with our parents at age 15 and never told even a little white lie?

It is worth remembering that the teenage brain is not fully developed until between 22yrs for girls and 28-30yrs for men (this explains so much!) and teenagers are designed to push boundaries that we set them, so as parents we need to ensure their safety because they are not yet wired to believe that anything bad will ever happen to them, while balancing that as parents, we always think the worst will happen!

The link below will access Paul’s details and further links to research.






Jacinta Russo

Assistant Principal




“Set your goals high, and don’t stop till you get there.”

Bo Jackson


Term 1 SCC Sport Update

  • Senior SCC Touch finished the season placed 2nd and after many washed out games are going into grand final in week 10 against Saint Charbels College.
  • Year 7, 8 and 9 SCC AFL coming 1st going into grandfinal against MSJ.
  • Good luck girls!


National Athletics Championships

Congratulations to Eva Kostopoulos in Year 9 and Lucy Flanagan in Year 7 who competed at the National Athletics Championships in week 9.  Eva placed 2nd in the high jump event and Lucy came 7th in the 200m and 400m final, and 3rd in the 4x100m relay. Congratulations girls!


NSWCCC Swimming Championships

On Friday 31st March we had a number of students attend the NSWCCC Swimming Championships at Homebush.

Congratulations to the following students on their excellent achievement:

  • Lucy Flanagan – 6th in 50m Backstroke
  • Ashlee Pasfield, Jess Butler, Mary Pothas – 8th in 4 x 100m Freestyle relay
  • Mallory Hull – 18th in 50m Freestyle and 13th in 50m backstroke
  • Keira Warn –  7th 200m freestyle and 19th 200m freestyle
  • Leesa Coleman – 20th in 50m Freestyle


NSWCCC Volleyball Trials

Congratulations to Madison Amorim who trialled for the NSWCCC Volleyball team in week 9.

She has been selected to participate in the NSW All Schools in April.


Australian Surf Lifesaving Championships

The Australian Surf Lifesaving Championships were held at North Kirra Beach on the Gold Coast from the 25th of March to the 2nd of April. Congratulations to Bridget Cole in Year 11 who won Gold in the 17 years Relay event.

Dates coming up in Term 2

Tues 2nd May – CGSSSA Soccer

Friday 5th May – SCC Cross Country

Wednesday 17th May – CGSSSA Basketball


Beth Oliver

PDHPE Teacher

Proposed Detailed Itinerary – Europe Study Tour 2018


April 2018

The College is planning a school-based trip in 2018 to Europe for students studying Ancient History, Modern History, Italian and Art during the April School holidays.  Many of you may have heard about the wonderful trips over the past years that have been so successful and we would like to offer the same opportunity to senior students in 2018.

A proposed outline of an itinerary can be found below.

More information will be available to interested students early next term, including an information evening for interested parents and students

Day 1: Thursday 12th April – Depart Sydney

Day 2: Friday 13th April – Arrive Rome

Day 3: Saturday 14th April – Medieval Rome

Day 4: Sunday 15th April – Classical Rome

Day 5: Monday 16th April – To the Bay of Naples

Day 6: Tuesday 17th April – Herculaneum and villas

Day 7: Wednesday 18th April – Pompeii

Day 8: Thursday 19th April – To Berlin

Day 9: Friday 20th April – Berlin

Day 10: Saturday 21st April – Berlin

Day 11: Sunday 22nd April – To West Flanders

Day 12: Monday 23rd April – Flanders battlefields

Day 13: Tuesday 24th April – To the Somme Valley

Day 14: Wednesday 25th April – To Paris

Day 15: Thursday 26th April – Versailles

Day 16: Friday 27th April – Depart Paris

Day 17: Saturday 28th April – Arrive Sydney


What’s Been Happening in Religious Education

In December this year, the Sydney Archdiocese will be hosting the Australian Catholic Youth Festival. At this event, we are expecting approximately 15,000 students from across Australia to come together to celebrate being Catholic.  They will participate in discussions, music workshops, liturgies and prayer.  It is a wonderful event that brings like minded young Catholics together to celebrate their Catholic faith.  The event will officially open the Year of Youth in 2018 which will be a time of preparation for our next World Youth Day in Panama.  I would like to share with you Pope Francis’ address to young people as we prepare for World Youth Day 2019.


“The Mighty One has done great things for me” (Lk 1:49)

Dear Young Friends,

Here we are, on the road again, following our great meeting in Kraków, where we celebrated the Thirty-first World Youth Day and the Jubilee for Young People as part of the Holy Year of Mercy. We took as our guides Saint John Paul II and Saint Faustina Kowalska, the apostles of divine mercy, in order to offer a concrete response to the challenges of our time. We had a powerful experience of fraternity and joy, and we gave the world a sign of hope. Our different flags and languages were not a reason for rivalry and division, but an opportunity to open the doors of our hearts and to build bridges.

At the conclusion of the Kraków World Youth Day, I announced the next stop in our pilgrimage, which with God’s help will bring us to Panama in 2019. On this journey we will be accompanied by the Virgin Mary, whom all generations call blessed (cf. Lk 1:48). This new leg of our journey picks up from the one that preceded it, centred on the Beatitudes, and invites us to press forward. I fervently hope that you young people will continue to press forward, not only cherishing the memory of the past, but also with courage in the present and hope for the future. These attitudes were certainly present in the young Mary of Nazareth and are clearly expressed in the themes chosen for the three coming World Youth Days. This year (2017) we will reflect on the faith of Mary, who says in the Magnificat: “The Mighty One has done great things for me” (Lk 1:49). The theme for next year (2018) – “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favour with God” (Lk 1:30) – will lead us to meditate on the courageous charity with which the Virgin welcomed the message of the angel. The 2019 World Youth Day will be inspired by the words “I am the servant of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word” (Lk 1:38), Mary’s hope-filled reply to the angel.

In October 2018, the Church will celebrate the Synod of Bishops on the theme: Youth, Faith and Vocational Discernment. We will talk about how you, as young people, are experiencing the life of faith amid the challenges of our time. We will also discuss the question of how you can develop a life project by discerning your personal vocation, whether it be to marriage in the secular and professional world, or to the consecrated life and priesthood. It is my hope that the journey towards the World Youth Day in Panama and the process of preparation for the Synod will move forward in tandem.


Our age does not need young people who are “couch-potatoes”

According to Luke’s Gospel, once Mary has received the message of the angel and said “yes” to the call to become the Mother of the Saviour, she sets out in haste to visit her cousin Elizabeth, who was in the sixth month of her pregnancy (cf. 1:36, 39). Mary is very young; what she was told is a great gift, but it also entails great challenges. The Lord assured her of his presence and support, yet many things remain obscure in her mind and heart. Yet Mary does not shut herself up at home or let herself be paralyzed by fear or pride. Mary is not the type that, to be comfortable, needs a good sofa where she can feel safe and sound. She is no couch potato! (cf. Address at the Vigil, Kraków, 30 July 2016). If her elderly cousin needs a hand, she does not hesitate, but immediately sets off.

It was a long way to the house of Elizabeth, about 150 kilometres. But the young woman from Nazareth, led by the Holy Spirit, knows no obstacles. Surely, those days of journeying helped her to meditate on the marvellous event of which she was a part. So it is with us, whenever we set out on pilgrimage. Along the way, the events of our own lives come to mind, we learn to appreciate their meaning and we discern our vocation, which then becomes clear in the encounter with God and in service to others.


The Mighty One has done great things for me

The meeting of the two women, one young and the other elderly, is filled with the presence of the Holy Spirit and charged with joy and wonder (cf. Lk 1:40-45). The two mothers, like the children they bear, practically dance for joy. Elizabeth, impressed by Mary’s faith, cries out: “Blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfilment of what was spoken to her by the Lord” (v. 45). One of the great gifts that the Virgin received was certainly that of faith. Belief in God is a priceless gift, but one that has to be received. Elizabeth blesses Mary for this, and she in turn responds with the song of the Magnificat (cf. Lk 1:46-55), in which we find the words: “The Mighty One has done great things for me” (v. 49).

Mary’s is a revolutionary prayer, the song of a faith-filled young woman conscious of her limits, yet confident in God’s mercy. She gives thanks to God for looking upon her lowliness and for the work of salvation that he has brought about for the people, the poor and the humble. Faith is at the heart of Mary’s entire story. Her song helps us to understand the mercy of the Lord as the driving force of history, the history of each of us and of all humanity.

When God touches the heart of a young man or woman, they become capable of doing tremendous things. The “great things” that the Almighty accomplished in the life of Mary speak also to our own journey in life, which is not a meaningless meandering, but a pilgrimage that, for all its uncertainties and sufferings, can find its fulfilment in God (cf. Angelus, 15 August 2015). You may say to me: “But Father, I have my limits, I am a sinner, what can I do?” When the Lord calls us, he doesn’t stop at what we are or what we have done. On the contrary, at the very moment that he calls us, he is looking ahead to everything we can do, all the love we are capable of giving. Like the young Mary, you can allow your life to become a means for making the world a better place. Jesus is calling you to leave your mark in life, your mark on history, both your own and that of so many others (cf. Address at the Vigil, Kraków, 30 July 2016).


Being young does not mean being disconnected from the past

Mary was little more than an adolescent, like many of you. Yet in the Magnificat, she echoes the praises of her people and their history. This shows us that being young does not mean being disconnected from the past. Our personal history is part of a long trail, a communal journey that has preceded us over the ages. Like Mary, we belong to a people. History teaches us that, even when the Church has to sail on stormy seas, the hand of God guides her and helps her to overcome moments of difficulty. The genuine experience of the Church is not like a flash mob, where people agree to meet, do their thing and then go their separate ways. The Church is heir to a long tradition which, passed down from generation to generation, is further enriched by the experience of each individual. Your personal history has a place within the greater history of the Church.

Being mindful of the past also helps us to be open to the unexpected ways that God acts in us and through us. It also helps us to be open to being chosen as a means by which God brings about his saving plan. As young people, you too can do great things and take on fuller responsibilities, if only you recognize God’s mercy and power at work in your lives.

I would like to ask you some questions. How do you “save” in your memory the events and experiences of your life? What do you do with the facts and the images present in your memory? Some of you, particularly those hurt by certain situations in life, might want to “reset” your own past, to claim the right to forget it all. But I would like to remind you that there is no saint without a past, or a sinner without a future. The pearl is born of a wound in the oyster! Jesus, by his love, can heal our hearts and turn our lives into genuine pearls. As Saint Paul said, the Lord can show his power through our weakness (cf. 2 Cor 12:9).

Yet our memories should not remain crammed together, as in the memory of a hard drive. Nor can we archive everything in some sort of virtual “cloud”. We need to learn how to make past events a dynamic reality on which to reflect and to draw lessons and meaning for the present and the future. This is no easy task, but one necessary for discovering the thread of God’s love running through the whole of our life.

Many people say that young people are distracted and superficial. They are wrong! Still, we should acknowledge our need to reflect on our lives and direct them towards the future. To have a past is not the same as to have a history. In our life we can have plenty of memories, but how many of them are really a part of our memory? How many are significant for our hearts and help to give meaning to our lives? In the social media, we see faces of young people appearing in any number of pictures recounting more or less real events, but we don’t know how much of all this is really “history”, an experience that can be communicated and endowed with purpose and meaning. Television is full of “reality shows” which are not real stories, but only moments passed before a television camera by characters living from day to day, without a greater plan. Don’t let yourselves be led astray by this false image of reality! Be the protagonists of your history; decide your own future.


How to remain connected, following the example of Mary

It is said of Mary that she treasured all these things and pondered them in her heart (cf. Lk 2:19, 51). This unassuming young woman of Nazareth teaches us by her example to preserve the memory of the events of our lives but also to put them together and reconstruct the unity of all the fragments that, put together, can make up a mosaic. How can we learn to do this in practice? Let me offer you some suggestions.

At the end of each day, we can stop for a few minutes to remember the good times and the challenges, the things that went well and those that went wrong. In this way, before God and before ourselves, we can express our gratitude, our regrets and our trust. If you wish, you can also write them down in a notebook as a kind of spiritual journal. This means praying in life, with life and about life, and it will surely help you to recognize the great things that the Lord is doing for each of you. As Saint Augustine said, we can find God in the vast fields of our memory (cf. Confessions, X, 8, 12).

Reading the Magnificat, we realize how well Mary knew the word of God. Every verse of her song has a parallel in the Old Testament. The young mother of Jesus knew the prayers of her people by heart. Surely her parents and her grandparents had taught them to her. How important it is for the faith to be passed down from one generation to another! There is a hidden treasure in the prayers that past generations have taught us, in the lived spirituality of ordinary people that we call popular piety. Mary inherits the faith of her people and shapes it in a song that is entirely her own, yet at the same time the song of the entire Church, which sings it with her. If you, as young people, want to sing a Magnificat all your own, and make your lives a gift for humanity as a whole, it is essential to connect with the historical tradition and the prayer of those who have gone before you. To do so, it is important to be familiar with the Bible, God’s word, reading it daily and letting it speak to your lives, and interpreting everyday events in the light of what the Lord says to you in the sacred Scriptures. In prayer and in the prayerful reading of the Bible (lectio divina), Jesus will warm your hearts and illumine your steps, even in the dark moments of life (cf. Lk 24:13-35).

Mary also teaches us to live “eucharistically”, that is to learn how to give thanks and praise, and not to fixate on our problems and difficulties alone. In the process of living, today’s prayers become tomorrow’s reasons for thanksgiving. In this way, your participation in Holy Mass and the occasions when you celebrate the Sacrament of Reconciliation will be both a high point and new beginning. Your lives will be renewed each day in forgiveness and they will become an act of perennial praise to the Almighty. “Trust the memory of God … his memory is a heart filled with tender compassion, one that rejoices in erasing in us every trace of evil” (cf. Homily at Mass, World Youth Day, Kraków, 31 July 2016).

We have seen that the Magnificat wells up in Mary’s heart at the moment when she meets her elderly cousin Elizabeth. With her faith, her keen gaze and her words, Elizabeth helps the Virgin to understand more fully the greatness of what God is accomplishing in her and the mission that he has entrusted to her. But what about you? Do you realize how extraordinarily enriching the encounter between the young and the elderly can be? How much attention do you pay to the elderly, to your grandparents? With good reason you want to “soar”, your heart is full of great dreams, but you need the wisdom and the vision of the elderly. Spread your wings and fly, but also realize that you need to rediscover your roots and to take up the torch from those who have gone before. To build a meaningful future, you need to know and appreciate the past (cf. Amoris Laetitia, 191, 193). Young people have strength, while the elderly have memory and wisdom. As Mary did with Elizabeth, look to the elderly, to your grandparents. They will speak to you of things that can thrill your minds and fill your hearts.


Creative fidelity for building the future

It is true that you are still young and so it can be hard for you to appreciate the importance of tradition. But know that this is not the same as being traditionalists. No! When Mary in the Gospel says: “The Mighty One has done great things for me”, she means to say that those “great things” are not over, but are still happening in the present. It is not about the distant past. Being mindful of the past does not mean being nostalgic or remaining attached to a certain period of history, but rather being able to acknowledge where we have come from, so that we can keep going back to essentials and throwing ourselves with creative fidelity into building the future. It would be problematic and ultimately useless to cultivate a paralyzing memory that makes us keep doing the same things in the same way. It is a gift of God to see how many of you, with your questions, dreams and uncertainties, refuse to listen to those who say that things cannot change.

A society that values only the present tends to dismiss everything inherited from the past, as for example the institutions of marriage, consecrated life and priestly mission. These end up being seen as meaningless and outdated forms. People think it is better to live in “open” situations, going through life as if it were a reality show, without aim or purpose. Don’t let yourselves be deceived! God came to enlarge the horizons of our life in every direction. He helps us to give due value to the past so as better to build a future of happiness. Yet this is possible only if we have authentic experiences of love, which help us concretely to discern the Lord’s call and to respond to it. For only that can bring us true happiness.

Dear young people I entrust our journey towards Panama, together with the process of preparation for the next Synod of Bishops, to the maternal intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary. I ask you to keep in mind two important anniversaries in 2017: the three-hundredth anniversary of the finding of the image of Our Lady of Aparecida in Brazil and the centenary of the apparitions in Fatima, Portugal, where, God willing, I plan to make a pilgrimage this coming May. Saint Martin of Porres, one of the patron saints of Latin America and of the 2019 World Youth Day, in going about his humble daily duties, used to offer the best flowers to Mary, as a sign of his filial love. May you too cultivate a relationship of familiarity and friendship with Our Lady, entrusting to her your joys, your worries and your concerns. I assure you that you will not regret it!

May the maiden of Nazareth, who in the whole world has assumed a thousand names and faces in order to be close to her children, intercede for all of us and help us to sing of the great works that the Lord is accomplishing in us and through us.


From the Vatican, 27 February 2017
    Memory of Saint Gabriel of Our Lady of Sorrows





Diane Kennaugh

Leader of Religious Education and Mission



Year 8 Lenten Coin Line Challenge

On Thursday, 23 March, Year 8 participated in the Lenten Coin Line Challenge. The aim was to collect as many coins as possible to raise funds for the less fortunate in Timor – Leste.  All the girls did such an amazing job with each homeroom digging deep for charity- Caritas Australia.  It was great to see everyone participating and supporting such a great cause- with all money earned supporting initiatives like those that work toward ending domestic violence in small communities in Timor-Leste.  Students in year 8 were reminded, that every coin counts! We can make a difference! Working together as a community we were able to raise $476.54 and live out the college motto “Act justly, love tenderly and walk humbly with your God”.

Stephanie Boskovski, Telina Kolyvas, Ayva Palmer, Mia Palmer,  Nektaria Rice and Olivia Soca



Year 11 Legal Studies – Downing Centre Courts

On Friday, 24 March, two Year 11 Legal classes went to the Downing Centre in Sydney. At the Downing Centre, we were able to attend Local and District courts , where we heard cases. We had the opportunity to watch the law in action and connect our classwork to real cases. The court rooms were quite intimidating and having to bow to the judge/magistrate was a new experience that we all found quite odd. Overall, this was an amazing day for everyone as we learnt valuable information that will assist us in our further Legal Studies. We had an incredible experience that we will never forget. Special thanks to Ms Matthews and Ms Grimm for giving us the opportunity to expand our knowledge about the legal system.
Zoe Zoumpoulis (Yr 11 Legal Studies)

St Michael’s 2017 Holy Week and Easter Celebration

From the School Counsellor

“Be ANXIOUS for nothing but a PERFECT me”

Bethany College Anxiety Management Program



This year, we have set ourselves a goal to run group programs at Bethany College to improve the well-being of students who are experiencing mental health issues. Everyone has their own battle, some worse than others, and we strongly believe that the support, understanding and strategies through a group forum with a focus on preventative measures, will be beneficial in helping students improve their well-being.

The “Be Anxious for Nothing but a Perfect Me” program was developed by the School Counsellor with the support of the Year Coordinators. The purpose of this program is to support student well-being by providing students who are experiencing anxiety with some knowledge, skills and strategies so that they can live a more content and fulfilled life. The program is aimed at teenage girls who are struggling with perfectionism, academic stress, self-confidence and generalised anxiety.

Students are given a workbook so that they can record their own experiences of their anxiety. Once the program is completed, this workbook will serve as a self-help resource so in the face of difficulty they can read the appropriate section, apply the skill and stay well.

The program is divided into 8 sessions, 6 weekly and 2 follow up, with each session lasting approximately 45 mins. The program is facilitated by the School Counsellor and Year Co-Ordinators. Each session introduces a new skill backed by various activities to allow students to practice the skill. The proposed start date is Tuesday 9 May, 2017.

The program educates students about the following aspects:

  • The nature of anxiety
  • Strategies to manage anxiety
  • Challenging unhelpful thinking patterns that feed into anxiety
  • Behavioural experiments that will challenge students to better manage anxiety in stressful situations

If your daughter is experiencing anxiety and you will feel that this program may be beneficial for her please email me on k.stratilas@syd.catholic.edu.au or call 8566 0711. The number of participants that can partake in the group are limited.


Katerina Stratilas

School Counsellor

Australian Catholic Youth Festival Competitions

Are you an aspiring artist, song writer or filmmaker?

The Australian Catholic Youth Festival needs you!

Young people across Australia are invited to showcase their musical, artistic and film making talents ahead of the Australian Catholic Youth Festival (ACYF) later this year.

For all singers and songwriters out there, the Festival is seeking entries for an official theme song.

Do you have what it takes or do you know someone who could compose the lyrics or sing?

The Australian Catholic Youth Festival is also seeking entries to a short film competition and an art competition that will be curated into an exhibition at the Festival to be held in Sydney from 7 to 9 December 2017.

More information is attached, or see Miss Napoli, (Acting) Youth Ministry Coordinator.