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The Resurrection of Jesus (John 20:1-9)
A reflection on the Gospel from Easter Sunday of Resurrection of Lord (Year C)
Written by Mr Casimir Douglas
“Let the little children come to me, and do not stop them; it is to such as these that the Kingdom of Heaven belongs.” - Matthew 19:14
I love my family. Last Wednesday morning was just another seemingly inauspicious school morning, as the anticipation of school holidays and the celebration of Easter builds both at home and school. My daughter, after getting ready for school (she is in Kinder), was expressing her creative energies with LEGO in her room. She emerged from her laboratory of creation with a gift for me; Jesus on the Cross. A perfectly balanced ‘T’ formation replete with a LEGO figurine attached to just the right spot. I’ve included the picture below.
I was raised a devout Catholic, and my devotion continues. My parents are both career School Principals, my brother and sister are teachers, my son and daughter attend a local Catholic school and also attend Mass with me each Sunday, and my wife and I do all we can to nourish the seeds of faith planted in our children at their Baptism. It seems my vocation in Catholic education was predetermined, and my appointment to the role of Principal at St Thomas More’s Catholic School, a matter of fate. Indeed, my mother attended St Thomas More’s Catholic School too.
So therefore, it was no surprise to me when my daughter presented her gift. It almost seems profane that Christianity’s most ubiquitous, powerful, sacred, ancient and Holy symbol has been presented in plastic colourful building bricks. But the gift was not the LEGO bricks, the gift was my daughter’s acknowledgement that this Holy image of Christ is important to me, to her, to our life, and to our relationship. I am overjoyed that as she pondered what she might create for me, that she felt as though this is a gift I would want, and perhaps, a gift I have always wanted. Whilst she may not yet fully comprehend the deep theological implications of the symbol, for her it was a gift and symbol that together, we, she and I, have a shared experience in this Holy image. A shared spiritual experience. A shared human experience. After all, we all share in the human experience. Even God has shared in the human experience. God lived the human experience in the person of Jesus. And this symbol presented by my daughter represents the very incarnation and enfleshment of God, crucified.
St Paul, the Epistoler, whose writings comprise the majority of the New Testament in the Bible, penned letters to the early Christian communities to provide guidance on how to live as a person of Christ. But his writings were concerned as much with practical advice (external), as they were on providing insight and wisdom to early Christians on the interior life of prayer, reflection, and introspection (internal). He taught that we must first find Christ within us (internal), before we can be Christ for others (external), which is the living mission of the Christian person. In St Paul’s letter to the people of Galatia, he reflected on his own personal experience of the Risen Christ whom he encountered on the road to Damascus as a powerful and transformative light. St Paul recalls that through this light and grace: “God revealed his Son in me” (Galatians 1:16). Note the language used by St Paul, Christ was not revealed to him (external), but Christ was revealed in him (internal). God revealed to St Paul the Risen Christ within; as the scales fell from his eyes, he was present to the love, compassion, universality, and self-sacrifice of Christ within.
We have held liturgies each morning at school this week for Holy Week. It is a prayerful and sacrosanct week, a week that we ‘hold sacred’. The focus is, of course, on the paschal sacrifice of our Lord, Jesus Christ, whose redemptive crucifixion enables us to experience the fullness of life which Christ promised. Sacrifice is at the centre of the paschal mystery, and at the centre of the symbol my daughter created for me. Indeed, an etymological exploration of the word reveals that the intended historical meaning of sacrifice is to ‘hold sacred’. There is a wonderful tension and paradox in the semantics of the word, it is simultaneously an act of ‘letting go’, so that we may ‘hold onto’. I pray that we may hold onto, and hold sacred, the journey of this Holy Week and the people that make our triumphant Easter celebration worthwhile.
The quote at the beginning of this reflection from Matthew’s Jesus summarises and brings to life the beauty of my daughter’s gift to me. If God’s mission is to bring about a Kingdom of love, inclusion, compassion, connection and right-relationship, then my daughter’s gift is truly a building block in that construction project. Indeed, her gift is evidence that she is beginning to connect to, understand, acknowledge, and explore the gift of Christ within. Her true gift was the gift of self-giving, given freely. God’s gift in the paschal mystery is the gift of self-giving, given freely. I pray this Easter that your gift will be the gift of self-giving, given freely. And that God may reveal in you the Risen Christ.
Thursday 14th April, 2022
Dear Parents and Carers,
Grace to you and peace.
HOLY WEEK LITURGIES
We have held liturgies each morning at school this week for Holy Week. On Monday our Grade 5/6 students shared the journey of Jesus' triumphal entry into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday; on Tuesday our Kinder students shared Jesus' teachings, parables, and healings in the temple during the Passover festival; on Wednesday our Grade 1/2 students shared Jesus' gathering with his Disciples at the Last Supper and the Instutution of the Eucharistic Feast; and on Thursday our Grade 3/4 students shared the story of Jesus' agony in the Garden of Gethsemene, before all staff and students engaged in a prayer walk focused on the Stations of the Cross in anticipation of our Good Friday observance. These prayerful gatherings, and active participation in the Paschal mystery during Holy Week, bring us into union with each other, ourselves and the Risen Christ. I wish to express my sincere gratitude for the leadership of Mrs Belinda Taylor in the development and coordination of our Holy Week gatherings. And thank you also to the year level teaching teams for their organisation of the liturgies for each day of Holy Week.
SCHOOL OVAL... OPEN IN TERM 2!
The school oval was subject to significant overhaul during the summer school holidays to address and improve its drainage. Our students have been very patiently waiting for the school oval to be reopened throughout the long process of resurfacing, reseeding, germination and growth. They have, quite literally, watched the grass grow. And their patience has very nearly paid off! The School Oval will be open for students to access from the start of Term 2 on Monday 2nd May! I wish to express my sincere gratitude for the stewardship of Mr Rik Bryan, and the work of the team from The Pump Shed, the irrigation solution specialists who have managed this project.
COVID-19 has brought with it unprecedented changes to the structures of society and schools in the midst of this global health pandemic. After opening the borders in December of 2021, it was inevitable that the virus would make its presence felt not only in Tasmania, but also in our school community. We have all felt acutely the impact of COVID-19 on the physical health of their loved ones. And addtionally, the current health climate has brought with it a universal crisis in human connection. The experience of mandatory isolation is charactersied by alienation, frustration, intensity, and disruption. I had the joy (and challenge) of isolation for the final week of this school term as a close contact. The experience was a ceaseless whirlwind of crafting, cooking, building LEGO, growing crystals, managing illness, washing hands, santising door handles, Zoom meetings, a million emails, board games, video games (don't judge me), creating cardboard unicorns and robots, and also the very human experiences of laughter and tears, pain and joy. Did I mention intensity and disruption? It's taken me four days to write this paragraph!
Whilst the Easter break is currently the main prepoccuption and staff, students and parents, we must glance ahead at the shape of the educational experience in Term 2 for students in light of more relaxed restrictions. Next term we can expect; for parents to be invited back on site into the life of the school, starting with Mother's Day; for mixing of classes and year levels to resume for such events as buddy classes and mentoring, school assemblies in Josephite Hall, and pastoral care groups on Friday afternoons; sporting gala days; One Day School at Larmenier; parents invited to the Athletics & Cross Country carnivals; and School Masses to be held in Sacred Heart Church. These activities will not all resume immediately at the start of Term 2. A staged approach to resuming these activities will be deployed based on the current number of cases in classes and the school as a whole, advice from Public Health, and the broader health climate. In other words, we will be flexible and agile, and prioritise the safety of students, staff and parents, by clearly communicating and encouraging all members of the school community to continue to follow all COVID-Safe practices and procedures.
Thank you to all staff, students, parents and friends of the St Thomas More's Catholic School community for your resilience and resolve, your genuine care and concern, and your support and guidance of our students as they have walked the unique, challenging and rewarding learning journey of Term 1 in 2022.
The school holidays represent an opportunity for recreation, and I do truly trust that you will use this time to relax, refresh and rejuvenate. But the school holidays also present an opportunity for re-creation. We are gifted the space to learn, to grow, and to create ourselves anew. I commit to building a better version of myself and bringing that to our community next term.
Finally, I wish you all a happy, safe, healthy and Holy Easter!
May the grace of Christ, the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all.
Mr Casimir Douglas
Enrolments for Kinder 2023 are now open. All new and existing St Thomas More's families wishing to enrol their child for Kinder 2023 must submit an Expression of Interest to avoid disappointment. The EOI is available from our website Enrolment Expression of Interest. Enrolments close 31st May, 2022.
"Yesterday all the grade 3/4 classes participated in a forces incursion. When we got into our groups we did fun activities such as paper planes, which had gravity and air resistance, vortex which showed push and gravity, playdough which was push and pull, ten pin bowling which was push and friction and basketball which was push and gravity. The playground had a mixture of push and pull, gravity, friction and swing force. We had so much fun and so did everyone else!" by Rubi and Rosie
Thank you to the Grade 6 leaders, parents and grandparents and staff that organised and helped on the day.
School Photo day is Monday, 9th May 2022.
Photo ordering is completed through Compass using the link on your Compass app homepage - an email has been sent from MSP Photography with details on how to order.
Sibling photos will be taken before school from 8.30am, and MSP Photography request that students present themselves to the photographers in the Josephite Hall from 8.30am for the sibling photo to be taken.
Students will be required to wear their winter uniform and jumpers will not be required to be worn.
Please note the church carpark is not to be used by parents to park in during drop off and pick up times. It poses a danger to our students to have cars coming in and out during these high peak periods of pedestrian use.
Families needing to access disabled parking are exempt from this request. We thank you for your assistance in keeping our students safe.
A reminder that students are required to wear their winter unifoms during Terms 2 and 3. Uniform items are available from Midfords at 132 Charles St, Launceston TAS 7250.
Please direct any enquiries to the office on 03 6337 7200 thank you.
During Holy Week the following ceremonies will be live streamed though the Parish Facebook page @catholicparishlaunceston:
Mass of the Lord's Supper from the Church of the Apostles at 7.30pm on Holy Thursday (14th April)
Commemoration of the Passion from the Church of the Apostles at 3.00pm on Good Friday (15th April)
Easter Mass from St Patrick's College Chapel at 10.00am on Easter Sunday (17th April)
If you don't have a Facebook account go to:
Every blessing for a very happy Easter,
Fr Mark Freeman
Fostering Hope has partnered with Ultra 106.5 and Way FM to launch a state-wide awareness and recruitment campaign for respite foster carers. There is a huge shortage of respite carers in the state and we truly believe this is something the Christian community could rise up and meet the need. Respite care gives full time carers a break AND offers extended family and community for children who have been removed from this. The best respite care situations are where the respite carers are on the team around the child and the children don't even realise they are going to respite, but look forward to hanging out with their friends, 'foster grandparents', 'cousins' etc. Respite carers can be any age or stage of life and get to be the fun people in the kids life!
Respite carers still need to go through the same formal training as full time carers as we need to ensure safety around children. However, Fostering Hope is there to support people through the training and next steps. Each term we offer a 'preparation for fostering course' and can buddy new carers with existing carers and of course all carers join our awesome group of existing carers (definitely one of the best bits about the carer journey is getting to hang out with other carers!).
One of the Fostering Hope team is also available to come and chat on a Sunday, mid-week event, or anything else!
Please be in touch with any questions. Our prayer is by the end of the year all children have a respite care family and we have more than enough carers in Tasmania.
Mary and the Fostering Hope team.