Volume 08 - 29 May 2015

Evangelisation Day

Nine students from year 9 attended an Evangelisation Day on Tuesday at Domremy College in Five Dock. Steve Angrisano was the main presenter on the day and he engaged students through his music and stories; highlighting how people in his life have acted in a selfless and considerate way. He encouraged the students to use these examples to inspire them to act justly in their own lives and explained what being pure at heart meant. There were 400 students in attendance and the girls were able to interact with people from other schools through small group discussion activities.

Angel Quintal commented that it “was a great day to learn about what pure in heart really means. It was a fun filled day we got to new people from other schools and having a good laugh.”

I would like to thank the following girls for their thoughtful participation on the day; Chloe Allcorn, Janice Lewis, Elisa Pesavento, Caitlin Micallef, Isabella Czarnecki, Jamie Howe, Angel Quintal, Anna Maria Sanchez, Matea Abramovic.


“It was a great day and I’d go back and do it all over again if I could”.     Elisa Pesavento 
“We were able to gain a better understanding of our faith and how we are to act as Catholics through discussions about what it means to be “Pure in heart”.    Jamie Howe 
“We heard amazing stories, listened and danced to fun music and met a lot of people from other schools. These stories and people really brought the theme of being pure in heart home. I am so grateful to have had been a part of it.”            Caitlin Micallef 


Laura Mirabello

Youth Ministry and Student Leadership Co-ordinator



We had a very successful afternoon on Thursday (21.5.15) with all our teams successful over their opposition. Well done to the following teams:

  • Opens Soccer
  • Senior Netball
  • Intermediate Netball
  • Junior Netball

NSWCCC Soccer Championships

Congratulations to the following students who represented Sydney Catholic College (SCC) at the recent New South Wales Combined Catholic Colleges (NSWCCC) Football Championships.

  • Annabel Stojanovska
  • Sotiria Psakis
  • Rachel Cassar
  • Cassandra Patrulovski
  • Vanessa Patrulovski

The team did extremely well and ended up coming third in the State. A special mention to Annabel Stojanovska who received this outstanding compliment from their  team manager.

“I wanted to make a special mention and congratulations to Annabel who took up the goal keeper position even though she does not usually play this position. Annabel played amazingly and on many occasions kept us in the game. Both the coach and I agreed that Annabel was our MVP for the competition.”


Congratulations to Kiera Warn who represented the NSWCCC Swimming Team at the NSW All Schools Swimming Carnival. Kiera came 6th in the final of the 200m Individual Medley with a personal best time. This achievement makes her the 6th fastest of all students in this event in NSW.



NSWCCC Volleyball

Congratulations to Madison Amorim who has been chosen in the NSWCCC Volleyball Team at the upcoming NSW Volleyball Championships.



SCC Touch Football

Congratulations to the following students who have been selected to represent Sydney Catholic College (SCC) at the New South Wales Combined Catholic Colleges (NSWCCC) Touch Football Championships.

  • Amelia Carnovale (Open Team)
  • Tijana Miles  (Open Team)
  • Ruth Cassidy   (15’s)
  • Kirsten Grskovic (15’s)
  • Leah Fisher  (15’s)
  • Natalie Hardas   (15’s)
  • Erin Price  (15’s)


Upcoming Dates

CGSSSA Gymnastics 3  June
Year 7 Athletics Day 12 June
NSWCCC Touch 16 June
School Athletics Carnival 17 June
CGSSSA Netball 17 June



Keiran Staples

Sport Coordinator







Year 8 Scientia – Religious Education

Pope John Paul II initiated the practice of identifying young saints and martyrs and encouraging young people to pray through them for their needs. As preparations continue for World Youth Day 2016 in Krakow our Year 8 Scientia students were invited to nominate a suitable Catholic saint and/or martyr prior to AD 1054, whose faith and service to God and the world is an example to young people. They were tasked with creating a website outlining their chosen saint’s case for patronage of World Youth Day, and evaluating them against a selection criteria of their own design. Here are some examples of their excellent work:

Justina Alabasinis


Olivia Di Costanzo


Louisa Leone


Southern Cross Cultural Exchange


As Marcel Proust, a late 19th Century novelist wrote : “ the real voyage of discovery  consists not in seeking new landscapes but having new eyes” . Volunteer to host an international high school student arriving into Australia in July 2015 through Southern Cross Cultural Exchange and prepare to be amazed at the way this unique and rewarding opportunity helps your family to become closer, to understand themselves better and see the world in a new light.

Carefully selected students will arrive in July for one term , one semester or two semesters from France, Germany, Italy, Switzerland, Spain, Sweden, Norway, Finland, and Denmark. They will attend a local High School, arrive with their own spending money and comprehensive health insurance cover – all arranged by Southern Cross Cultural Exchange. To enquire about becoming a volunteer host family visit us at  www.scce.com.au email scceaust@scce.com.au or call us toll free on 1800 500 501, request our international student profiles and capture the spirit of family and friendship.

Junior Youth Nights



HSC & Careers Expo
Date : 28th May 2015 Time : For 3 days Venue : Moore Park

More details, go to: http://www.hscandcareers.com.au/


Environmental Engineering Showcase Event
Date : 28th May 2015 Time : 1pm – 5pm Cost : FREE
Venue : Nura Gilli Foyer, UNSW, High St, Kensington, NSW 2052
Contact : Stephen Moore : s.moore@unsw.edu.au
The 4th year environmental engineering subject “Planning Sustainble Infrastructure” runs a Showcase Event to present the solutions from student groups of four, on the design of water, waste, energy and transport infrastructure for a community. In 2015 it will be for an isolated community in the Torres Straits.
The 2014 event can be seen at http://www.engineering.unsw.edu.au/civil-engineering/planning-sustainable-infrastructure-showcase-2014-video

Charles Sturt University MyDay – Events

For a list of all the MyDay events, go to: http://www.csu.edu.au/contacts/myday.
Accounting and Business at Bathurst campus
Community Health at Albury-Wodonga campus

Date: 28th May 2015 Time: 9:30am – 2:30pm

MyDay aims to give students a taste of ‘living and learning’ on campus at CSU and the opportunity to find out about particular courses, in this case Health and Rehabilitation, Occupational Therapy, Physiotherapy, Podiatric Medicine and Speech and Language Pathology. Students will also receive key information about opportunities and support available to make their goals achievable.
You may learn more about MyDays and register to attend at http://www.csu.edu.au/contacts/myday.
UWS Day Parramatta

Date : 2nd Jun 2015 Time : 9.30 am – 2.00 pm
Venue : Parramatta Campus, Cnr Victoria Rd and James Ruse Dr, Rydalmere
The University of Western Sydney is hosting UWS Day, a hands-on event allowing high school students to find out about UWS courses, scholarships and career pathways! The day will be filled with interactive workshops and the opportunity to speak one-on-one with current UWS students.
To find out more, visit http://www.uws.edu.au/uwsday.


The University of Notre Dame – Getting to Know Nursing 

Date : 2nd Jun 2015 Time : 6:00pm Venue : 160 Oxford St, Darlinghurst NSW 2010
Cost : FREE
Contact : Anne-Maree McCarthy : sydney@nd.edu.au / 02 8204 4404
Thinking of a career in Nursing? Join us at ‘Getting to Know Nursing’ and find out what it’s really like!
Students attending this session will have the opportunity to meet academic staff, engage in clinical activities, experience a Nursing lecture and tour our campus.


The University of Notre Dame – Individual Twilight Tours
Date : 2nd Jun 2015 Time : 5:00pm – 7:00pm
Venue : 104 Broadway, Chippendale NSW 2008
Cost : FREE
Contact : Anne-Maree McCarthy : sydney@nd.edu.au / 02 8204 4404
Event Description :
Busy from 9-5? The Prospective Students Office will be open extended hours to assist you with tertiary study options and admissions information.

UWS Day Kingswood
Date : 3rd Jun 2015 Time : 9.30 am – 2.00 pm
Venue : Kingswood Campus, Second Ave, Kingswood Cost : FREE
Contact : PSA Team : forschools@uws.edu.au
The University of Western Sydney is hosting UWS Day, a hands-on event allowing high school students to find out about UWS courses, scholarships and career pathways! The day will be filled with interactive workshops and the opportunity to speak one-on-one with current UWS students.

To find out more, visit http://www.uws.edu.au/uwsday.

UNSW: Co-op Career Development Scholarship Program Create Your Career Sessions

The Co-op Program is a Career Development Scholarship which offers students an unprecedented head start in their chosen career, while still at university.

Wed 3rd June, 6.00pm – 8.00pm, UNSW Kensington Campus

Create Your Own Career Sessions offer students the opportunity to hear from industry leaders and gain an insight into the career opportunities which exist through the degrees available in the Co-op Program.  UNSW will be holding six sessions on the possible career paths available in the Co-op Program. These sessions are titled:

  • Accounting & Business Management Careers
  • Actuarial Careers
  • Finance & Banking
  • Marketing Careers
  • Information Systems & Technology Careers
  • Engineering Careers




Associate Degree of Accounting
Date : 3rd Jun 2015 Time : 6.30pm Venue : St George Campus
Cost : FREE Contact : Uma Dutta : si.degree.applications.finance@det.nsw.edu.au
Come along, learn more, have your questions answered!
Associate Degree of Accounting
This course is suitable for school leavers, graduates of Certificate IV or higher in accounting,
bookkeeping, financial services and mature aged students seeking to retrain or change careers.

Bachelor of Applied Finance
Date : 3rd Jun 2015 Time : 6.30pm Venue : St George Campus
Cost : FREE  Contact : Uma dutta : SI.degree.applications.finance@tafensw.edu.au
Event Description :
Come along, learn more, have your questions answered!
Bachelor of Applied Finance (Financial Planning)
This course is suitable for school leavers and graduates of Certificate IV or higher qualifications. It is a three year professional degree that prepares graduates for employment in the financial services sector in Australia and is accredited by the Financial Planning Education Council of Australia.

Information session:
Wednesday 3rd June 2015 at 6.30pm
St George Campus, Building A, Conference room
Contact details Uma Dutta – Ph: 02 9598 6333
Email: uma.dutta1@tafensw.edu.au

Bachelor of Applied Management
Date: 3rd Jun 2015 Time : 6.30pm Venue : St George Campus
Cost : FREE Contact : Uma Dutta : si.appliedmanagement@det.nsw.edu.au
Sydney TAFE is now offering a management degree that you can complete at St George College. The Bachelor of Applied Management is a degree that is offered in partnership with
Federation University Australia.
Information Session – Wednesday
3rd June 2015 @ 6.15pm Building
F, Lower Ground Level, Room FLG19,
St George College.


Sydney University Year 10 Information Evenings 

Wednesday 3 June & Monday 22 June, 6-7.45pm

Our annual information evenings are designed to help Year 10 students and their parents choose subjects for HSC and learn about University. Topics include: ATAR, scaling and assumed knowledge, subject selections and career pathways Register at: www.sydney.edu.au/future-students/high-school-students/year-10/information-evenings.shtml


CQUniversity Australia Information Session (Online)
Date : 4th Jun 2015 Time : 4pm – 7pm Venue : Online www.cqu.edu.au
Cost : FREE
Contact : Samara Lovekin : P 03 8662 0854 E s.lovekin@cqu.edu.au
Event Description :
Attend our online information session to find out about our extensive range of courses and programs – available full-time or part-time at our many locations around Australia or via distance education.

UTS IT Undergraduate Information Evening

Date : 10th Jun 2015 Time : 5.30pm
Venue : University of Technology, Sydney, Building 11, level 00, 87 Broadway, Ultimo
Cost : FREE Contact : Tracey Grinter : 02 9514 2666 or feitoutreach@uts.edu.au
Discuss undergraduate study plans with our course directors and current students. Learn about our scholarships, plus the exciting career options for IT graduates.

For more information and to register visit: http://www.uts.edu.au/about/faculty-engineering-and-information-technology/events/information-technology-undergraduate

UTS Engineering Undergraduate Information Evening
Date : 10th Jun 2015 Time : 5.30pm  Venue : University of Technology
Cost : FREE Contact : Tracey Grinter : 02 9514 2666 or feitoutreach@uts.edu.au
Discover the world of engineering through our practical and industry focussed courses. Discuss scholarships and undergraduate study plans with our courses directors, current students and graduates.

For more information and to register visit: http://www.uts.edu.au/about/faculty-engineering-and-information-technology/events/engineering-undergraduate-info-evening

University of Sydney’s Agriculture HSC Seminar
Date : 11th Jun 2015 Time : 9am-2pm
Venue : The University of Sydney Camden Campus
Cost : $5 Contact : Jessica Morris : jessica.morris@sydney.edu.au
Spend a day on valuable revision and case studies of current research for the HSC Agriculture courses at the University of Sydney’s Agriculture HSC Seminar.
For more information please visit http://sydney.edu.au/science/outreach/high-school/agriculture-hsc-seminar/index.shtml

UNSW Engineering and Science Student Parent Info Night
Date : 11th Jun 2015 Time : 5:30pm-8:00pm
Venue : John Niland Scientia Building (G19), UNSW Cost : FREE
Contact : Damien Nedeljkovic : studyscience@unsw.edu.au
The UNSW Faculties of Engineering and Science invite Year 11 and 12 students and their parents to attend an information evening on 11 June 2015.
5.30pm – 6.00pm – Registration  6.00pm – 7.15pm – Presentation 7.15pm – 8.00pm – Refreshments
Following the presentation there will be an opportunity to speak with our current students and academic staff over refreshments. For more information and registration, visit http://www.science.unsw.edu.au/events/engineering-and-science-student-parent-info-night


UNSW Engineering and Science Student Parent Info Night 

The UNSW Faculties of Engineering and Science invite Year 11 and 12 students and their parents to attend an information evening on 11 June 2015. 5:30pm for 6:00pm Start Thursday 11 June 2015 John Niland Scientia Building (Building G19) UNSW Kensington Campus To register, visit http://www.engineering.unsw.edu.au/all-events/engineering-and-science-student-parent-information-evening

Sydney Design School Open Day
Date : 13th Jun 2015 Time : 12.00pm
Venue : 2/40 Oxley Street St Leonards Cost : FREE
Contact : Amanda Grace : amanda@sydneydesignschool.com.au
Open Day is an excellent opportunity for you to immerse yourself in the exciting world of interior design and decoration. http://sydneydesignschool.com.au/info-sessions/


Fashionmasters – Master Your Potential Careers Day
Date : 13th Jun 2015 Time : 10:00 am – 12:00 pm
Venue : Level 3 91 York Street Sydney NSW 2000 Cost : FREE
Contact : Olesya Bobrik : OBobrik@Holmes.edu.au (02)92991400
Is fashion your passion? Are you dreaming about a successful career in fashion industry?
Master Your Potential. Enrol now!


Sydney University Scholarships Information Evening 

Tuesday 16 June, 6-7.45pm

To maximise your chances of receiving a scholarship, we are hosting a Scholarships Information Evening for Year 12 students.The evening is hosted by the Scholarships Office and will share insider hints and tips on completing the Sydney Scholars application. Register at www.sydney.edu.au/future-students/high-school-students/scholarships-information-evening/

School Based Traineeships, Sydney College of Skin Care and Malwa College 

Advanced Education Australia (Trading as Sydney College of Skin Care & Malwa College) are now providing School Based Traineeships under the Government Funding Scheme, Smart and Skilled in Certificate III in Aged Care, Certificate III in Early Childhood Education and Certificate II in Retail Make-up and Skin Care. Contact us for more information on info@scsc.edu.au or 02 9481 7811

Journalism/PR Career Taster Days at Macleay College in July 

Do you have students who are unsure about what career to pursue? If they love social media, are curious and great with words, tell them about our Career Taster Days for Journalism or Public Relations in the July school holidays. They can find out more here https://goo.gl/WbFl3Y


Whitehouse Institute of Design Open House 2015

 Whitehouse Institute of Design is looking forward to welcoming you to the 2015 Open House to be held at 2 Short Street, Surry Hills on Friday 19 and Saturday 20 June. There will be exhibitions and parades showcasing the work from Fashion Design, Interior Design and Creative Direction & Styling. For bookings & information please emailenquiry@whitehouse-design.edu.au or phone 1300 551 433

Whitehouse Winter Workshops during the July School Holidays 

Whitehouse Institute of Design is taking enrolments now for Winter Workshop that will commence on Monday 29 June 2015 in Fashion Illustration– choose from 2,3,5 and 10-day Workshops. These are a great way for High School students to prepare for further Tertiary study in Design. For more information and registration forms please emailenquiry@whitehouse-design.edu.au or phone 1300 551 433


Ms Viviene Gereige

Vocational Learning Coordinator

What’s Happening in Religious Education

Knitting for the Winter Appeal

Thank you to all who have knitted squares for the Vinnies Conference to sew together to make up blankets in support of the Vinnies Winter appeal. All knitted squares are to be returned to the College by the end of May please. Further wool can be provided by contacting Miss Kleist.

Brekky Van 16 May 2015

Thank you to fifteen students from Years 11 and 12 and Mrs Pelham, Ms Brennan, Mr Gough, Mr Currao and Ms Mirabello for their generous support in running the Saturday morning brekky van.

Here are some of the reflections from the students:

“It was privilege to be able to serve the clients breakfast.”

“I felt so good being part of the Brekky Van team. The chocolate were a hit.”

“They were so nice. I did not realise how easy it would be to speak with the clients.”



Year 12 Retreats 2015

Year 12 students spent three days participating in large group and small group activities and individual reflection on their Retreat on the theme, “I have come  that you may have life and have it to the full.”  John 10:10

Here are some comments to the question, Over the days of the Retreat, I learner/become aware of:

  • Others, deeper issues and myself.
  • Myself and how others have helped shape me
  • That all of us have so many things in common yet are so different.
  • How everyone sees things so differently and that is OK.
  • The people who love me.
  • My relationship with God, other people and my personal qualities.

Thank you to the teachers who facilitated the running of the Retreats: Benedict XVI- Miss Kleist, Mr Hulme, Mrs Pelham, Mr Culleton and Ms Yousef; Kiah Ridge- Mr Currao, Ms Gereige, Ms Mirabello and Mr Martin and Mulgoa- Ms Robinson, Mr Colreavy, Mrs Rizzo, Ms Rothwell and Ms Stratilas.



Mary Kleist

Leader of Religious Education and Mission

From the Assistant Principal

Safe travel to and from school

This week we have reiterated to students the importance of travelling directly to and from school and not loitering around train stations and bus stops. There is safety in numbers, and we advise that students travel during peak times. It is also important for our girls to be aware of their surroundings especially when crossing roads, as students are sometimes distracted by phones, other electronic devices and their friends.


Important dates for Term 2 

  • 5 June: Staff Development Day (Assessment and Feedback)/ Pupil Free Day
  • 8 June: Queen’s Birthday long weekend
  • 10 and 11 June: Year 11 Drama Production 7pm
  • 15 June: Year 11 2016 Parent Information Evening 7pm
  • 17 June: Athletics Carnival
  • 25 June: 7-11 Parent/student/teacher interviews 4pm-7pm
  • 26 June: 7-11 Parent/student/teacher interviews 9am-4pm
  • 26 June: Term 2 concludes

The Learning Journey

jr2Term Two sometimes feels like “assessment term” to many of the students as tasks are marked and handed to back to students, and reports are prepared. It is important for all students to keep in mind that each assessment result is a point of reference that allows them to decide on where to go from here. That is what really matters once the task has been done.

I see students fold up their “test” after only looking at the mark on the front, rather than taking the time to reflect on their progress. It is important to ask questions about their knowledge of content and practice of skills:

  • What did I do well?
  • What bits don’t I get yet?
  • What worked in my preparation?
  • What mistakes did I make that have helped me learn?
  • What do I need to do in order to do better next time?


Assessment is not an end point, its part of the journey.


Jacinta Russo

Assistant Principal


Brain science: the answer to helping pupils cope with exam stress

As assessments approach, exam pressure can block memory when students need it most. Here’s the neuroscience behind boosting test performance


Exam season can be especially stressful for children in secondary school; many of their high-brain neural networks, which manage emotions such as stress, won’t have been built yet.

Neuro-imaging research shows that stress blocks communication from the upper cognitive brain down to the brain’s lower core, which is more emotionally reactive. This means that just when children need it most, they have limited access to the upper-brain regions that helpself-control, and access to their high-brain cortex where the memories they need are stored. Under pressure students can become emotional and find it hard to remember vital information.

Animals have a similar response to fear, which puts their lower brains in control. That is when we see animals go into automatic fight, flight, or freeze survival reactions. This is useful for survival, but when it happens to the human brain we lose touch with our ability to think before acting, or to respond effectively to questions.

But neuroscience can also help solve this problem. Understanding more about how their brains work enables students to develop techniques for remembering and accessing information when they need it.

How to help students de-stress

Before starting a test, get your pupils to visualise their own successful performance. This activates the memory circuits that will be called upon to answer the questions in the test, just as visualising a tennis swing or soccer kick activates the critical motor brain networks.

Also try practising relaxing rituals with students (mindfulness strategies, calming breathing, stress-busting visualisations) so these are readily available for them to activate immediately before or during tests when they are feeling stressed. This can be as easy as telling a joke, or relatable personal anecdote about your own exam experiences.

Reinforce test-taking tips you’ve previously shared with them too. Two key lessons include:

  1. If you don’t know an answer, go on to the next one. You may find information that triggers related memories in other questions.
  2. Don’t just select the first answer that seems right, because there may be a better one further down inside your head.

Finally, remind students that they are far greater and know much more than this specific test evaluates to reinforce their confidence about what they have learned. Remind them that a single test only measures how much they remember about the specific questions and not the wealth of knowledge they have acquired that was not selected for test questions. Let them see all the things you have accumulated that demonstrate what they do know – such as their homework, reports, group projects, quizzes and your notes about the good comments they made in class or when you visited their groups.

Help  students remember information

Much of the curriculum on which students are tested requires things to be remembered. Learning strategies that help connect new and prior knowledge makes the tedious job of remembering bits of information easier. Additionally, information linked to a child’s personal interests or something they recognise can help them remember things for longer, and prevent them forgetting what they have learned immediately after an exam.

Memory is constructed through pattern matching. This requires activation of neural circuits related in some way to the new learning, allowing new input to link into long-term memory circuits.

Teachers know what their students have learned, and sometimes incorrectly assume that the connections will be apparent to them. Without the more mature skills such as deductive reasoning, analysis and conceptual thinking, younger students need guidance to link the new with the known.

There are many ways in which you can help them. For example, you can use bulletin boards and discussions before new instruction to remind children what they have already learnt about a topic. Using graphics, including leaf diagrams and timelines, can also be helpful. Another handy trick is summarising learning in a child’s own words and then getting them to teach each other through stories and skits.

Reading important passages or children’s review notes aloud adds auditory memory networks to the visual input of the words they read.

Parents can reinforce learning by linking the topics studied to related photos or videos of family trips, objects they own made in countries the students are studying, or by reading favourite stories that relate to topics in science, history, and maths .

Parents can also help increase memory bridges by relating the class learning to their children’s interests. If their children are interested in local sports teams, directed questions can boost memory of new learning. “If you were the coach of (fill in team name here) how would you use (the scientific principle just learned) to help your team win?”

Final thoughts

The knowledge gained from brain research, when applied to learning, can help you energise and enliven your students’ memories. By helping them actively connect with the subject matter, they will have achieved something far more valuable than rote recall. By using your students’ prior knowledge, related memory banks, interests and learning strengths you’ll guide their brains to construct durable, long-term, efficiently retrieved memory – for the test and beyond.


Association of Catholic School Principals Conference, Dubbo 2015



Last week I attended this conference in Dubbo under the theme “Encountering new horizons”. I was privileged to here from many learned academics whose work I have drawn from in the past such as Professor Dean Fink (from Ontario Canada) and Valerie Hannon (Innovation Unit UK).  We were all inspired by Bishop Vincent Long van Nguyen, OFMConv, who is an auxiliary Bishop in Melbourne. He was born in 1961 in Vietnam and escaped as a boat person in 1980, eventually arriving in December 1981. In 1983 he became a Conventual Franciscan Friar and commenced his studies for the priesthood in 1984. He has had the most amazing life journey and he challenged us to really reflect on the way we deal with displaced people who are keen to make a new life in new country, free from terror and political unrest.

Bishop Vincent called us to consider a RADICAL COMMITMENT TO JUSTICE. I include an excerpt of his address.


The question “who is our neighbour?” is thus understood within that broader vision of life which the Gospel addresses to all, but especially those who are deprived of it. The “neighbours” in this context are the refugees, the asylum seekers, the sex abuse victims, the gay and lesbian people and anyone else who suffer prejudice, discrimination and dehumanising stereotype. As the parable of the Good Samaritan subtly points out, it is the holders of the tradition who are often guilty of prejudice, discrimination and oppressive stereotype, the Church today needs to examine its own attitudes and actions towards the

victims of injustice and adopt what I would call a seamless garment approach. We cannot be a strong moral force and an effective prophetic voice in society if we are simply defensive, inconsistent and divisive with regards to certain social issues. We cannot talk about the integrity of creation, the universal and inclusive love of God, while at the same time colluding in the ill-treatment of racial minorities, women and homosexual persons. This is particularly true when the Church has not been a shining beacon and the trail-blazer in the fight against inequality and intolerance. Rather, it has been driven involuntarily into a new world where many of the old stereotypes have been put to rest and the identities and rights of the marginalised are accorded justice, acceptance, affirmation and protection in our secular and egalitarian society.

Like most of you and the Catholic world, I am greatly encouraged by the example and leadership of Pope Francis. His abandonment of the unnecessary worldly trappings associated with the papacy is a challenge to all of us to divest ourselves of clericalism and return to the purity of the Gospel. His constant call to the church to be less concerned with itself and to be more outward looking encourages us to walk with our people in the ambiguities and complexities of their lives. The self-referential church steeped in a culture of splendour is in stark contrast with the church of the poor and for the poor. In one of his interviews on a rather thorny issue of homosexuality, Pope Francis says that we must always consider the person, because – I quote “when God looks at a gay person, does he endorse the existence of this person with love, or reject and condemn this person?” It seems to me that the Pope has more than moved away from the approach of condemnation and judgement. He has refocused on the proclamation of God’s love for the poor, the vulnerable and the marginalised; he has firmly placed the pastoral emphasis on the dignity of every person; he has committed the Church to the way of engagement, affirmation and compassion which is at the heart of the Gospel.

The Church can only be the conduit of compassion and speak the language of hope to a broken humanity when it truly personifies powerlessness and stands where Christ once stood, that is, firmly on the side of the outcast and the most vulnerable. 9 Catholic schools are premised on the fundamental dignity of each and every individual person. They are charged with a special mandate to offer hope to those who are disadvantaged and this special attention for the neediest is a cherished part of the Australian Catholic school story.

In reading the signs of the times, we are particularly challenged to be places which are deeply rooted in the Gospel values and where the radical vision of fullness of life for the poor and marginalised is fully embraced. The challenge of Pope Francis for the Church to be bruised, wounded and hurt because of its daring commitment to the vulnerable is poignant to us Catholic educators. To be “neighbour” to those who are on the margins of society even at the cost of our own success and power remains the fundamental Gospel imperative.

In summary, I believe we are living a time of grace and hope precisely because this fallow time allows us to rid ourselves of what is unworthy of Christ and to grow more deeply in our identity and mission as his disciples. Hence, it is the time to reclaim for the Church:

  • Less a role of power, dominance and privilege but more a position of vulnerability and powerlessness
  • Less an enclosure for the virtuous but more an oasis for the weary and downtrodden
  • Less an experience of exclusion and elitism but more an encounter of radical love, inclusiveness and solidarity
  • Less a leadership of control and clericalism but more a diakonia of a humble servant exemplified by Christ at the Last Supper
  • Less a language of condemnation but more a language of affirmation and compassion
  • Less a preoccupation for its own maintenance but more a concern for the kingdom of God


Despite all appearances to the contrary, I firmly believe that we are on the threshold of renewal and transformation. The Vatican Council set in motion a new paradigm that cannot be thwarted by fear and paralysis. That new paradigm is one that is based on mutuality not exclusion, love not fear, service not clericalism, engagement with the world not flight from or hostility against it, incarnate grace not dualism. The Holy Spirit is at work even at a time of great anguish. The spirit is leading us on and we are not afraid of the future. In fact, we have every reason to believe that the future will be even better than the past. Our task is to keep the amber burning bright and to pass it on to the next generation. May we be open to the guidance of the spirit as we journey with each other and together meet the challenge of delivering new life for the world.


                                                          A Simple Prayer for our Pontiff

PopeLord, source of eternal life and truth, give to Your shepherd, the Pope, a spirit of courage and right judgement, a spirit of knowledge and love.

By governing with fidelity those entrusted to his care may he, as successor to the apostle Peter and vicar of Christ, build Your church into a sacrament of unity, love, and peace for all the world.

We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, Who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen.



Prayers are called for:


  • The Krstevski family (Monica 11, Gabriella 7) who have lost their grandfather;
  • Roseanne Bennett, our College receptionist, who lost her mother this week;
  • Lynda Fleming, Teacher Librarian, who is recovering from extensive arm and shoulder surgery following a fall at the College last week.
  • The Canestro family (Sofia, Year 8) who have experienced the loss of a husband, grandfather and great-grandfather recently.  We offer condolences to the family.
  • The Shade family (Jasmine, Year 10) whose uncle sadly passed away.
  • For all of the family members we know that are in hospital, both students and staff.


Should any member of our community wish for us to pray for your family for any reason, please do not hesitate to send an email to sandra.jones@syd.catholic.edu.au or vicki.lavorato@syd.catholic.edu.au.




Our mantra:

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