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On 8 December 2015, Pope Francis opened the Holy door of St Peter’s Basilica to begin the Extraordinary Jubilee Holy Year of Mercy. Last Sunday he closed the same door marking the end of this Holy Year. A Holy Year normally only occurs once every 25 years in the Catholic Church. Therefore they are very special events and usually feature special celebrations and pilgrimages, calls for conversion and repentance and the offer of special opportunities to experience God’s grace through the sacraments. In December last year, Pope Francis not only declared a Holy Year but also extended it to be an Extraordinary Jubilee Holy Year. Such years are even less frequent than Holy Years. The last Extraordinary Jubilee was called by St John Paul II in 1983 to mark the 1,950 years after the death of Jesus. In fact the Year of Mercy called by Pope Francis is only the third “extraordinary” jubilee since the tradition began 700 years ago.

Given that such an event is so rare on the calendar of the Catholic Church, it is pertinent to ask the question why Pope Francis chose to do so last year. In his announcement of the Holy Year of Jubilee, Pope Francis proclaimed…

“Here, then, is the reason for the Jubilee: because this is the time for Mercy. It is the favorable time to heal wounds, a time not to be weary of meeting all those who are waiting to see and to touch with their hands the signs of the closeness of God, a time to offer everyone the way of forgiveness and reconciliation. May the Mother of God open our eyes, so that we may comprehend the task to which we have been called; and may she obtain for us the grace to experience this Jubilee of Mercy as faithful and fruitful witnesses of Christ.”

Pope Francis emphasised the need for the Church and all her members to live out the loving mercy that God has for us. Our response to God's loving mercy towards us is to act in that same way to all those we meet. Pope Francis reminded us that "Mercy is the very foundation of the Church's life. All of her pastoral activity should be caught up in the tenderness she makes present to believers; nothing in her preaching and in her witness to the world can be lacking in mercy. The Church's very credibility is seen in how she shows merciful and compassionate love" (MV, 10. . .). As members of the Body and Christ, our lives should reflect this witness of mercy to those we meet on a daily basis.

As this Extraordinary Holy Jubilee of Mercy has now come to an end, it is still very much incumbent on each of us to ensure that we continue to show a merciful and compassionate love to each of our neighbors.

Our Church now also starts to move towards our advent season. Advent is the liturgical season that precedes and prepares for Christmas. It is a season of hope and of longing, of joyful expectation and of peaceful preparation.

As this is our last week of the term for our student body, it is also the last edition of the Calling for this year. In the spirit of advent, I pray that each of our families enjoy a hopeful and peaceful preparation into Christmas and that the new year brings everyone in our community a sense of happiness and fulfilment. I hope that each of our young men have an opportunity to relax and refresh and are ready to start next year with a great sense of enthusiasm.

During Wednesday and Thursday of this week, I had the great pleasure of attending a transition liturgy for Year 6 classes and Thanksgiving concert for our Year 5 students. I would like to thank the large number of parents who attended these events. They were a great way to finish this year for the young men in these year levels. I would also like to particularly thank the Years 5 and 6 teachers and the music staff for the planning and assistance for the events. Mr Darren Kearney was the main organiser and facilitator of the Year 5 concert and Mr Tim Kenny arranged the Year 6 liturgy. I hope that all of our parents who were able to attend enjoyed the celebrations.

I would also like to use this opportunity to thank the entire staff of the St Patrick’s community. The great work completed by the Support Staff is evident through the presentation of facilities and services and the smooth running of the College. Our teaching staff have worked very hard to not only teach but also support, motivate and encourage our young men to be the best that they can be. Finally, the numerous opportunities across a broad range of activities is also testament to the expertise and generosity of the entire staff.

I would also particularly like to thank and recognise the efforts of the College Leadership Team over this year. I believe that St Patrick’s is very fortunate to have the senior leaders such as Mr Frank Torrisi, Mr Chris Campbell, Ms Elizabeth Gaber, Mr Tim Kenny and Mr Darren Kearney. I have been very lucky to be able to not only work with each of them, but to also be able to rely on their advice and counsel in my role.

I would also like to thank the parents and caregivers of each of our students. Thank you for your support of the College and what we do and for the partnership that you have entered into with us to help your son(s) reach their potential. Whilst school holidays are generally seen as a time for a break from work, I am also very aware that many of our parents cannot take a holiday during this period due to work commitments. I hope that each of you get an opportunity to spend some quality time with your families over the festive season, and I look forward to working with each of you again next year.

God Bless

Mr Chris Mayes - College Principal