This Sunday marks the fifth Sunday of Lent. The Gospel reading from John follows from last week’s parable about the prodigal son and a father’s mercy and forgiveness. This week’s reading is about a conflict that occurs in a temple where Jesus is preaching. The Pharisees try to trick Jesus into breaking their laws. They bring a woman who had been caught in the act of adultery and asked Jesus what they should do with her. They clearly state to Jesus that according to the law of Moses, she should be stoned to death. However, Jesus avoids the trap by not answering immediately and started to write on the ground with his finger. After a while of writing, he stood and addressed the Pharisees by suggesting that those amongst them who had not sinned, should cast the first stone at her. He then stooped over and continued to write. The crowd slowly started to disperse one by one. Once the crowd has dispersed, Jesus was left with the woman. He sends the woman on her way, refusing to pass judgment and exhorting her to avoid sinning in the future.

Jesus's response to those who accuse the woman is a caution to us about making judgment of others. It is a strong lesson in mercy and forgiveness. As sinners, we are all unworthy to judge the sins of others and we would stand convicted by God for our transgressions. Yet Jesus, the one without sin and thus one who could judge, offers sinners his mercy and forgiveness.

Last week, we looked at the unconditional love of a parent. It is about forgiveness for our own flesh and blood. This week we are called to consider our actions to others who have done wrong. Do we make judgments about their character and are there occasions when we, ourselves, may have been guilty of the very same “sins”? Perhaps we are being asked to consider our own actions in our daily lives where forgiveness and understanding could replace judgments and nastiness towards others. These are strong messages for all of us to follow.

Over the past two weeks, Elizabeth Gaber and Frank Torrisi have completed their performance appraisals. Elizabeth’s was organised by us and facilitated by Mrs Donna George, an experienced educational consultant. Over the two-day process, she collected and collated much data from staff and students. The commendations mentioned in her appraisal report are not only very affirming but quite exceptional. We are very lucky to have a leader of Elizabeth’s calibre on our CLT.

Frank’s review was more in depth as it is facilitated and organised by EREA (Melbourne). His panel included Peter Chapman (Chair and Regional Director EREA North), Mrs Paula Bacchiella (Deputy Principal, Edmund Rice College, Bindoon WA) and Mrs Alison Tierry (Former College Principal – Mt St Michael’s College). Frank’s appraisal information was gathered from a self-reflection, surveys to families and staff, interviews with CLT, staff, students, College Board members and families. The outcome of Frank’s appraisal was, once again, quite exceptional. The commendations from the broad range of stakeholders was again very affirming for the excellent job that Frank is doing. This appraisal was a summative appraisal for Frank and I congratulate him on the outstanding job that he has done over the past five years and look forward to him continuing within the role into the future.

Next term, there will be further appraisals on Tim Kenny, Darren Kearney and myself.

I will also start a period of renewal and long service leave commencing 18 June through until the beginning of Term 4. I have been fortunate to be accepted to attend an Edmund Rice Education Beyond Borders Symposium in Lima, Peru starting on 20 June. During my renewal period, I will also undertake a Strategic Leadership course with the University of Melbourne and a GROWTH coaching accreditation course with the Queensland Educational Leadership Institute (QELi). In my absence, Frank Torrisi will undertake the role of College Principal and Elizabeth Gaber will move into the role of College Deputy Principal. We will appoint a replacement for Elizabeth’s role early next term.

This afternoon, I attended the funeral of Mr Dan Reid along with many College staff members. It was a very sad occasion for Dan’s family, friends and past colleagues. But is was also an occasion to celebrate a life that brought so much joy and happiness into the lives of others. May he Rest in Peace.

The Shore 2 Gate walk is always a wonderful way to finish the term. This morning our staff started the day with a breakfast overlooking the magnificent Moreton Bay and gathered with the student body to celebrate our end of term Easter Liturgy before setting out on our walk. We are truly lucky to have the location that we do, and it is great to be able to enjoy it in ways like today.

It seemed that each of our young men had an extra skip in their step today as well. Perhaps this had something to do with the end of assessments and the beginning of the Easter holiday break. I hope that all families have the opportunity to enjoy a holy and joyful Easter break and some quality time together.

I look forward to starting again on Tuesday 23 April for another exciting term.

Live Jesus in our Hearts!

Mr Chris Mayes – College Principal