Today is a very significant day for all Catholic Schools in the Edmund Rice Tradition. We will join some 50 other schools in celebrating the Feast Day of Blessed Edmund Rice. In our Catholic faith and tradition, Catholic Feast days are days set aside to remember important people and events through the course of the Faith from the time of Mary's birth all the way through to today honouring the saints. Edmund Rice is not yet a saint, but is on the journey to sainthood. He was the founder of the Christian Brothers and one of their many...
Today is a very significant day for all Catholic Schools in the Edmund Rice Tradition. We will join some 50 other schools in celebrating the Feast Day of Blessed Edmund Rice. In our Catholic faith and tradition, Catholic Feast days are days set aside to remember important people and events through the course of the Faith from the time of Mary's birth all the way through to today honouring the saints. Edmund Rice is not yet a saint, but is on the journey to sainthood. He was the founder of the Christian Brothers and one of their many legacies has been to leave a network of schools across the world including Australia. Christian Brothers’ schools took a symbolic change to Catholic Schools in the Edmund Rice Tradition (EREA Schools) in Australia from 2008. During my address at the opening of the Christian Brothers Building on St Patrick’s Day, I mentioned that there had been many changes within this College since 1952. However, one of the “constants” during this time has been the presence of the Christian Brothers within our school. We are very fortunate to have Br Chris Pritchard as a member of our staff to continue this great tradition.
Edmund Rice set up his first (free) school for poor and impoverished young men in Waterford, Ireland in 1802. Initially Edmund was influenced by the work of Nano Nagle, the founder of the Presentation Sisters. He gathered a group of men that he formed into a community of religious brothers dedicated to “raising up the poor”. By 1825 Edmund Rice and 30 Brothers were educating over 5,500 boys in 12 different towns and cities. Edmund had become the founder of both the Christian and Presentation Brothers and more than two centuries on our schools continue to be attracted by his vision. Today, there are Christian Brothers schools on all five continents.
The Christian Brothers came to Australia in 1843 arriving in Sydney at the invitation of Archbishop Polding. They left in 1848. They came back again in 1868, this time in Melbourne upon the invitation of Bishop James Goold. Within 35 years Br Patrick Ambrose Treacy responded to bishops and set up schools in the dioceses of Brisbane, Sydney, Adelaide, Dunedin and Perth. The task of the Brothers in Australia was the evangelsation of the mainly poor, mainly Irish Catholic families of the colonies. Throughout their time in Australia they have been invited to start many schools across all states of the country. Whilst the numbers of schools have decreased over time, the Edmund Rice Australia (EREA) is considered one of the largest and forward thinking Religious Institute organisations within the country. St Patrick’s College stands proudly in solidarity with the many other EREA schools across Australia and will continue to be authentic to the Mission and Charter of Edmund Rice Education Australia.
At St Patrick’s we talk about forming our young men into Men of Action. This is done through making them young men of faith whereby they understand and take responsibility for their own faith journey and spirituality. Men of Action are also men of learning and humility. At St Patrick’s we do not just aspire to teach our young men the requirements of a school curriculum, but also the skills and desire to use this knowledge to make the world a better place especially for the poor and marginalised within our communities. The basis for this is built on a humility that recognizes the dignity of each person whom we meet and developing a relationship with them based on love and acceptance of diversity and inclusivity.
I am very confident that if the four original Christian Brothers who started St Patrick’s College in January 1952 could visit our College today and met with our young Men of Action, they would be extremely proud of the College that they established.
In last week’s edition, I spoke about the proud involvement of our College in ANZAC commemorative services across our local area. I recently received a very nice letter from Counsellor Jarred Cassidy thanking our young men for attending the Sandgate service in such large numbers. I would also like to single out our College drum corp led by Mr Andrew Doo and assisted by Mrs Kelly Jensen. These young men woke in the very early hours of the morning and played at three ANZAC services throughout the morning. Their great efforts and those of Mitchell Bell, who also played the The Last Post at the services was very much appreciated by members of the wider community. I would like to thank each of these young men and their families for assisting our RSL services.
In two weeks, commencing on Wednesday 17 May and concluding on Friday 19 May, our College will participate in an EREA School Renewal Program. School renewal is an ongoing process for our College. It is a process whereby we can gather feedback regarding our authenticity to the Mission and Charter of EREA. The Charter for Catholic Schools in the Edmund Rice Tradition is used as a lens for the renewal. The program allows an external group of educators to visit our College and apply this lens to our own programs and practices. This process allows us to not only reflect upon our own practices as a Catholic School in the Edmund Rice Tradition but also to receive feedback from several sources. The external team will present us with a report that will contain commendations for what we are doing well and recommendations for other things to consider in moving forward as an EREA school. The team will interview several staff, students, parents, Board Members and other key stakeholders associated with the College. I am looking forward to receiving the feedback later this year. This will also assist us in developing our College Strategic Plan to commence in 2019.
Our co-curricular competitions started last weekend when we competed against Villanova College in Chess, Football and Rugby. I was impressed by the strength and spirit of competition amongst both schools. This weekend we take on St Peters Lutheran College.
On Sunday, almost all our Year 12 cohort will start their KAIROS retreat. The retreat program goes for three days and will be facilitated by members of the College staff across four different campuses. The planning and organisation for these retreats is quite extensive and we have many staff (teaching and support) attending and taking part in the presentations. I would particularly like to thank Mr Tim Kenny and Mrs Helen Righetti for their organisation for the retreats. It really is a wonderful experience for these young men.
Next week, on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, all the young men in Years 5, 7 and 9 will undertake their NAPLAN tests. As a College, we use these results to assist us in gauging student potential and information on individual students and cohort data and trends. I would urge every parent to discuss the tests with their son and assist him to be ready and relaxed on each day at school. All that we ask is that each young man be ready and try to the best of his ability.