In my last article I mentioned the article Eight Good Reasons for Being Catholic written by Fr Richard Rohr, O.F.M., and Joseph Martos. Last week, I gave the first two reasons why it is good to be Catholic. These included (1) our religion hasan optimistic view of creation and (2) Catholicism has a universal vision.

The third reason is that the Catholic faith has a holistic outlook. According to Rohr & Martos, the Church has always been concerned with holiness. However, our contemporary understanding of this concept is more aligned to wholeness. This means that everyone is called to achieve their fullest potential to be a truly whole and holy person. They suggest that true holiness requires a transformation of the total personality where there is a concern for bodily health as well as spiritual health. Put simply, we need to have a balance between prayer and action. The fourth reason is that our Catholic faith is concerned about personal growth. The Catholic vision of human potential begins with a vision of life as a process of continuous conversion and growth. Rohr & Martos suggest that the Christian life is a process or journey that goes through stages. Each of these stages introduces different challenges, pitfalls and personalities along the way. We learn that personal fulfillment means abandoning ourselves and putting others first. In the Catholic tradition, ultimate satisfaction is promised to those who give up their desire for self-satisfaction.

Over the last three days of this week, some of our Years 6 & 7 students participated in some school readiness tests for the new NAPLAN on-line tests that will be introduced next year. The purpose of these tests was to see how our infrastructure and student laptops coped with the processes and test. The new tests also expect a high level of administration from the teaching staff who oversee the tests. This was also a good opportunity for them to learn how this is done. It turned out that we did find some glitches caused by various means. This meant that some young men had to work with us to sort out the problem and allow us to learn from the situation so that we can cope with it again if it occurs during the real tests next year. This also meant that these young men did not get a chance to spend as much time on the tests as others. I stressed to them that this was not an issue as we do not receive any reports on the answered questions, this was simply a readiness test for us to prepare for the administration and participation in the tests next year. If your son was upset that he did not complete the tests because of a glitch, please reinforce with him that the tests were actually tests for us not him. The good news is that we learned a lot about how we can improve upon our administration and will be well prepared for the real tests next year.

During the first two days of this week, I had the great pleasure of being a part of the Year 11 Leadership Retreat. The retreat was expertly planned by Mr Darren Kearney and Mr Luke Royes and very well facilitated by the team of House Deans. We were also supported by Luke and Hogan from Equip Leadership who ran some great workshops and past student, Simon Patmore, address the students about leadership in his context as a professional athlete. On Tuesday afternoon, parents of each young man attended a ritual where the students were presented with their senior ties. It was a treat for all the young men and our staff to have so many family members join us, especially with their busy working and family schedules. I was most impressed by the young men, not just because of their cooperation, but because of the depth of conversations and relationships that were formed over these days. We are in a very fortunate position to have such a strong cohort lead us through 2019 and I am certainly looking forward to working with them.

We received the sad news of the death of Br Jack (Pius) Dowd on 12 October. He was 81 years of age. Br Dowd was a member of this College community from 1975–1983. He also served as College Deputy Principal during this time and is best known for the great work that he did in planning many of the new buildings that were completed during his time at the College. The Dowd building was named after him.

During our Assembly on Thursday morning, we held a Spirit Assembly to introduce this year’s College Track and Field team. The team will compete in the AIC Championships to be held at QSAC next Monday and Tuesday. Our Year 11 cohort will attend the Championship on Tuesday to cheer the team on through the competition. I would like to thank and congratulate Gum Mabor and Jack Smith for accepting the captaincy of the team. Both young men have done an excellent job to date in leading the team and encouraging each young man within it. I am sure that they will all try to the best of their abilities in their events over the two days.

Next week, we will host three members of the Australian Council of Educational Research (ACER) School Improvement team. They will join our staff for four days and during this time interview staff and students and review our practices and use the National School Improvement Tool (NSIT) to give us feedback to how we are tracking with our improvement agenda. The information that we receive from this review will be integral for the finer details of our strategic plan as well as give excellent information to the new Director – Pedagogy and Learning Innovations who will commence working in our staff next year. To be a highly reliable school, it is important for us to consistently review our practices and look for ways to continuously improve. We will feedback the information to the community once it is received and digested by the College Leadership Team and staff.

During yesterday’s assembly, Harry Lawrence gave his farewell speech as a Student Leader. It was a heartfelt reflection on his time at St Patrick’s and the lessons learned along the way. Over the next two weeks, Jack Smith and Daniel Champness will give their final speeches as well.

Live Jesus in our Hearts!

Mr Chris Mayes – College Principal