25 July 2023 (Term 3 Week 2)
In this week’s gospel, we hear Jesus sharing yet more parables with those who would hear him. The parables talk about the inbounding Kingdom of God emerging with Jesus' presence here on earth. This kingdom is one of inclusion, acceptance, community and love, where we are called to live in a harmonious relationship with God. His first parable talks about sowing a field which then becomes corrupted with weeds. He then goes on to share a parable where the Kingdom of God is described as a mustard seed.
“He put another parable before them: ‘The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed which a man took and sowed in his field. It is the smallest of all the seeds, but when it has grown it is the biggest shrub of all and becomes a tree so that the birds of the air come and shelter in its branches’” (Matt 13:31-32).
This is such an unusual comparison that may be lost on us today. Pliny the Elder, a Roman general and natural historian living at the same time as Jesus, described the mustard plant in some depth. He tells us that the fruit of the mustard plant has two qualities; it is great for your health, and, once sown, it is “scarcely possible to get the place free of it, as the seed when it falls germinates at once”. (Pliny, "Natural History" 19.170-171; Rackham et al. 5.528-529). Why would Jesus compare the Kingdom of God, the Church in relationship with God, to a weed? Jesus presents for us a wonderful illustration of the radical growth of the Church and of the healing and restoration that it has brought with it to countless people. We see this healing and growth in our own community. We see it in the way our teachers and students love and care for one another. We see it in the families who, inspired by the message of Jesus heard in our school, choose to formally join the Church. The Kingdom of God is often described as “already here… but not yet”. With Jesus entering into our world, we can be assured that the Kingdom is really and abundantly present. However, we continue to build God’s kingdom through the way we seek to live in the light of Christ.
Attendance at school is essential for all students, not only for their academic progress and growth but also for their ongoing wellbeing. It is difficult for students to learn effectively unless they are at school. Students will better be able to develop the skills and depth of understanding they need if they are present in the classroom as they utilise the experience and expertise of the teacher and the classroom dynamics.
Over the coming weeks, we will be making contact with parents to see how we can offer support and to discuss any continual absences that is impacting on student learning and progress.
PARISH FAMILY GROUPS CELEBRATIONS
Last weekend was a milestone in the parish with the 30th anniversary of the introduction of the Passionist Family Groups into the parish. These groups have provided a wonderful foundation of support for families over the years, and it is a terrific initiative that the parish is keeping alive. We would encourage any families in the parish not yet connected to a family group to explore this opportunity by contacting the parish office. Representatives of the various family groups celebraed with a 30th anniversary cake.
Together, let's empower our children to explore the digital world safely while preserving their well-being and fostering a positive sense of self.
Learning & Teaching News
This year, we are reintroducing the Poetry Recital and Speech Competition, Gift of the Gab. Our school event will now coincide with a newly introduced interschool speaking competition between seven local Catholic primary schools. This inaugural event will this year be hosted by St Carthage’s Primary School in Week 9 of Term 3. The finalists from our school-based competition will represent our school at this regional competition.
Students will present their poems or speeches in McCarthy Hall at lunchtime on Monday-Thursday of Week 5, depending on the number of entrants. The top two students will be chosen to present at the regional competition held at St Carthage’s in Week 9. Finalists will be chosen to present their poems or speeches at assemblies in Weeks 6 and 8. If you child would like to enter please complete the entry form.
Click on the link below for the entry form and to read all of the guidelines for the Gift of the Gab.
WINTER APPEAL CAKE STALL
Thank you to all our students and their families who contributed treats to our cake stall today. The treats sold out in record time and raised a further $170 toward our social justice fundraising. It was an absolute hit! Thank you to our Social Justice Team who organised and ran the stall and to all our talented bakers.
FIRST EUCHARIST & PANCAKE SUNDAY
We are looking forward to celebrating the Sacrament of First Eucharist on the weekends of the 19th/20th and 26th/27th August. Sunday 20th August is also pancake day in our Parish. All families are invited to join us after Mass to enjoy pancakes and a play in the school playground with other children from our parish school community.
MARY MACKILLOP LITURGY
On the 8th August, we will be celebrating the Feast of St Mary of the Cross MacKillop with a liturgy in the hall. Please join us for this celebration at 2.20pm.
This Thursday the Zone Athletics Carnival is going ahead at St John’s College Woodlawn. For your child to attend this event, permission and payment must have been given on the Compass event. It is extremely important that the information in this event is read as we will be departing school before the bell to allow us the appropriate time to get to the venue.
The program for the day has been added to the resources section of Event. This year, parents will be able to park at the venue. If your child is unable to attend, please decline the event or let me know.
Singlets will be sent home with children this Tuesday with return and care information; please send these back to school in their plastic sleeve and with the laminated information.
Last week we were very fortunate to have DJ, his team and his wheelchairs join us for a week of learning and participation. It was amazing to see the growth in understanding and abilities within each session, and the joy that was had by all.
Congratulations to Josie Layland from Year 6, who represented our school and diocese at the NSW All Schools Cross Country Championships in Sydney on Friday. Josie, against a very competitive field, placed 51st overall and was the 10th best-placed Catholic school student in her event!
Please note that the date for the Swimming Carnival in Term 4 has been changed. This will now be held on Tuesday, 12th December.
Around the School
Every day we offer a variety of structured play activities. Some new activites are now offered to our students - choir (commences week 3), Rubik's cube club and chess. Last week for sport structured play, two eager groups of athletes participated in a modified game of netball using our new netball hoops. Check out the photos of some of the players in action!
This term for “Kick It” we are celebrating our first nations people and we are learing about NAIDOC (National Aboriginal and Islander Day Of Celebration), with activities which reflect our Australian Indigenous history. This year the NAIDOC theme is "For Our Elders". In Kick-It we celebrated our elders and their continuous work and effort to lead and mentor the next generation and future generations to come. Students discovered what an elder is. You can find out more by watching this video "Learn about Aboriginal Eldership". We look forward to learning more in our fortnightly Kick-It groups.
Congratulations to Archie (S2), Luca (S1) and Ivy McDonald ES1 2024) who celebrated their Baptisms during the holidays.
Acknowledgement of Country
Jingi Walla ( Jin-gee-wah-la ) Hello….
As we journey on this land of the Bundjalung Nation on which St Joseph’s stands, we pay our respects to the Elders - the past, present and emerging leaders of the Bundjalung Nation. We acknowledge and respect their culture, their heritage and their beliefs as stewards of the land, sea, the earth and heavens, animals and vegetation.