This year, St Patrick’s Day is celebrated on Sunday. However, we marked the significance of this day to our College with a Mass this morning. It is a significant celebration for us as St Patrick is our patron saint. St Patrick is the apostle of Ireland and from a young age showed extraordinary courage and strength of character to spread the Gospel and faith throughout Ireland. He lived to be 74 years old, which was something quite unusual in his times. St Patrick spent nearly 40 years preaching and converting the Irish into the Catholic faith. He led...
This year, St Patrick’s Day is celebrated on Sunday. However, we marked the significance of this day to our College with a Mass this morning. It is a significant celebration for us as St Patrick is our patron saint. St Patrick is the apostle of Ireland and from a young age showed extraordinary courage and strength of character to spread the Gospel and faith throughout Ireland. He lived to be 74 years old, which was something quite unusual in his times. St Patrick spent nearly 40 years preaching and converting the Irish into the Catholic faith. He led a life that was difficult, disciplined and full of faith. He was considered afighter and revered in almost warrior-like status for his determination in difficult circumstances. Patrick studied to be a priest in France and in 431AD he was consecrated Patrick Bishop of Ireland and sent back to Ireland to continue his work spreading the good news of the Gospel.
Patrick is renowned for many things but one that is close to EREA schools is the Celtic Cross. Many religious orders have also originated in Ireland throughout time thanks to the works of St Patrick; including our Christian Brothers. The Celtic Cross is at the heart of their symbol and it is a common icon across many of our EREA schools.
This College was named after St Patrick in respect to Fr O’Rourke who was the Irish parish priest who acquired the land and assisted with the building works to Morven. However, once the name of the College was decided, the original and following Christian Brothers did much to assure that our College took on the characteristics of this great saint and patron of the country of their origins. Patrick’s influence is spread across many of our symbols. Our College crest bears the resemblance to a shield. Inside the shield is the shape of a bishop’s hat and below this is the College Motto Certa Certamen Bonum (Fight the good fight). St Patrick was certainly a man who fought the good fight. Finally, under the motto are nine battlements. These represent the things that were important to Patrick. They include:
- Love and reverence for the creator;
- Concern for the welfare of others;
- The joy of giving rather than receiving: of serving rather than of demanding service;
- Unselfishness and honesty;
- The importance of Truth;
- The thirst for Justice;
- The love of Beauty;
- Tenacity of purpose in pursuing high ideals;
- The virtue of doing one’s best to achieve the goal however difficult the effort.
At the beginning of this morning’s Mass, I introduced our College Strategic Plan for the next five years. The plan was offered for our Mass so that the next five years of the College will be blessed and immersed in the Spirit of St Patrick in the hope that we will face the years with the same determination as our patron. I would like to take this opportunity to thank the many staff, students and parents who had input into the process, it is truly wonderful to know our community was central to its creation.
After the conclusion of the Mass, I also made a special presentation to Br Michael Ryan. Br Ryan is a Christian Brother and was a teacher at the College for 10 years and College Principal from 1972-1977. This year marks his 60th year as a Christian Brother. In my address, I relied upon an article written by Mr John Lovett, a former teacher 1964-1998, as a farewell to Br Ryan at the end of 1977. He wrote ….
Br Ryan is best remembered by how easily he was able to mix well with all types of people from varying backgrounds and a man who was a very active Catholic and wonderful role-model for young men. He was also remembered for other things – success in the classroom and also on the sports fields. Students under Br Ryan’s tutelage, learned with fewer facilities than those available at wealthier schools, but still many advanced to higher levels of learning at tertiary education.Br Ryan was also an avid sportsman. This was clear in how he lived his life and coached his teams. He was particularly fond of cricket, rugby and athletics. Sporting results for this College in the decade that Br Ryan was here were quite remarkable for the student numbers. Mr Lovett noted that whilst there were many close encounters with premierships, the most important thing was that the boys never gave up. He suspected that this extra heart shown was because the boys, partly, did not want to let down Br Ryan.
Mr Lovett described Br Ryan as a man of great character, ability and charm and those who know him well would agree that St Patrick’s was indeed fortunate to have him as teacher and administrator for so long. The greatest legacy to the College would indisputably be the volume of gentlemen who left this school as mature, aware and Christian members of society. He described Br Ryan as a true follower of Edmund Rice and a great Christian Brother.
We are still fortunate to be able to invite Br Ryan to join us at our College events and celebrations. He certainly enjoyed being with us today for the celebration. We were also fortunate to have some parents with us as well as Br Damian Price, Br Marty Sanderson and Br Owen Brown as well as some of our past Ryan House Leaders.
We held the Great Morven Race after the Mass. Once again, it was a well contested event and still holds much passion amongst our student body. Many of our young men raced in the event across the ages. The winners will be announced at our next Trimester Sports Award ceremony.
On Monday, our Swimming team competed against the other AIC Colleges in the AIC Swimming Championships. Congratulations to St Peter’s Lutheran College for their overall victory. Our young men gave their best efforts and finished 6th overall.
Wednesday marked a new stage to our Paddy’s Van ministry. For the first time, we were able to serve food indoors in the hall of SANDBAG. The patrons appreciated the opportunity to sit in a cool space with tables and plates and cutlery. We will continue this new style of service each Wednesday afternoon. I would particularly like to thank Mrs Maggie Daunt from SANDBAG who has made this opportunity available to us.
Yesterday, Sean Affleck (Year 10) received the wonderful news that he was selected as one of two Australian students to attend the NASA Space School in the USA during the Semester 1 break. Sean was selected from 50 applicants in the Australian Scholarship Group (ASG) program after an application, short-listing and interview process. We are all very excited for Sean as this is a great opportunity for him and testimony to the hard work that he has done during his schooling.
As we have just completed Week 7 of the term, I would expect that there is much assessment becoming due for all our young men. It is particularly important that each student prepares well for their examinations and understands that this is a time when they will need to extend the amount of time that they are using for their exam preparations. This year, only Year 12 students will have block exams, as the Year 11 students have now embarked on the new QCE regime which involves less assessments and a larger spread of time when assessments are due. This has allowed us to remove exam blocks and have exams spread over the semester during normal school time.
Next Monday, the College Leadership Team will start our deliberations on the calendar for 2020. There will be some inevitable changes due to the new external exams in the final five weeks of the year and Unit 3 study starting in the last term of the year in Year 11. We will make these changes transparent to the whole school community, especially our students, as early as we can so that everyone can prepare for the adjustments. I appreciate that some of the adjustments may cause some angst amongst students and their families when past traditions may have to be changed. However, I am sure that you understand that we will be diligent in our considerations when planning.
This weekend, we play our final game of AFL against Villanova College tonight. This will be a “Big Brother/Little Brother” event and we hope to have a large crowd for the final game. The Year 9 game starts at 4:30pm with the Open team starting at 5:45pm. Our senior Cricket and Volleyball teams play at home, whilst the junior team travel to Villanova.
Our College Leadership Team will also be holding interviews for Year 7 students for 2021 and I will be attending the St Patrick’s Day Parade in Brisbane City where we will have the Paddy’s Van and some of our musicians involved in the event.
Live Jesus in our Hearts!