Irrespective of the varying views on asylum seekers or refugees, what has been most recently occurring in Europe has really tested the notion of the world being a global community. The exodus and long march for so many displaced people and scenes of death and distress to so many young children, often through no fault of their own, has brought a flutter to even the most hardened of hearts. However, through all of the confusion and heartache, there have also been so many examples of humanity at its best. Countries such as Germany opening its borders and scenes of local people offering food, clothes and shelter are great examples to the rest of us. Pope Francis has also appealed to the rest of the world to assist to relieve this disastrous circumstance and his requests have been met by Christians, Churches and parishes across Europe opening their doors to those in need. We are also about to find out from our own Prime Minister what we can do as a country to assist.

I have been struck by many things from what I have seen and read, but there are two things that stand out to me. Firstly, the resilience of the displaced people. So many are families that can no longer stay where they have been born and have resided for much of their lives. Even though they have been in danger for their own lives, it must have still taken considerable courage for a father, mother and young children to pack what they could carry and travel thousands of kilometres into unknown places to find refuge for their children. We have seen, quite graphically, that in a number of cases these journeys have ended in disaster. We have also seen the terrible conditions in some of the refugee camps, but the people inside of them make the most of what they can. Secondly, the strong sense of faith amongst the minority Christian groups who have been persecuted and forced to leave their homes. It would have been easy for them to denounce their faith and remain where they lived, but so many chose to be faithful to their God.

Such things are food for thought if we were placed in the same situation. Australia is an affluent country and, at times, we can take many basics in life for granted. The current circumstance in Europe certainly reminds me to be very grateful for what I have and am able to do. The other consideration is around our own personal spirituality and faith. When I see such things, I wonder how I would react in the same situation and what I would do if I were faced with persecution because of my religious beliefs.

Whilst there is little that we may be able to do to physically help the many suffering people, we could take strength from their strong faith beliefs and pray that they may be helped in the short term and given an opportunity to return to a normal existence as soon as possible.

The Year 12 cohort will be finished their exam block by the end of this week and the rest of the College commences on Monday. I am sure that these holidays will be a good time for many of our young men to relax and refresh ready for a short but energetic final term. Once again, I urge all students to prepare well for their assessments pieces and come to exam rooms ready to work hard until the very end of the test. This has certainly been the case with the Year 12 students.

There has been much in the press recently regarding protective action to be taken by staff in Catholic Schools as a consequence of the current enterprise bargaining process that commenced some months ago. I would like to advise parents that the proposed protective action will not take affect at St. Patrick's. School will continue as usual until the last day of the term.

Last Saturday, our First V Basketball team defeated Marist College Ashgrove and in doing so they have secured the Open Basketball premiership, even though they still have a final home game this Saturday. This is the first time that the College has won a First V Basketball premiership in the AIC competition and certainly a very proud moment for St. Patrick's. I would like to congratulate Mr Tim Merrett who coached the team and the squad of young men who have played outstanding Basketball throughout the season. They have done themselves and our College proud.

This Saturday marks the completion of the third term AIC sporting fixtures. We will host St Edmund's College, Ipswich in the Year 9 to Year 12 teams and travel to St Edmund's for the Year 7 and 8 fixtures. I would like to remind our players and families that it is important that each young man honour his commitments to the team and the opposition and travel to play this last game in Ipswich. In regard to the last home games, our First V will also be competing to finish the season as undefeated premiers and I am sure that they would appreciate as much support as possible.

The College library will be open from 8:30am until noon for students to study for their upcoming exams and move to the Callan Centre to support the First V. This is particularly pertinent to the Year 11 students as we will also have a past student that will be available to offer tutorial support for them.

God Bless,

Mr Chris Mayes - College Principal