Michael Chesser

Catholic Mission & Mercy Ethos

Opening School Mass

Our Opening School Mass, held in the College Hall on Monday, 12th February and led by Fr Thang Vu, parish priest of St Brendan’s, Flemington, and Holy Rosary, Kensington parishes, was a significant event in the Liturgical Calendar for Term One. It brought together students, staff, and special guests, including Sisters of Mercy, members of Mercy Education, the College advisory board, and representatives of the Melbourne Archdiocese of Catholic Schools.

Shrove Tuesday

Preceding the commencement of the Liturgical Season of Lent, the day before is known as Shrove Tuesday. More commonly, this is also known as Pancake Tuesday. However, the name “Shrove”, which is the past tense of the English verb “shrive”, shows its religious origins. To shrive means to obtain absolution for one’s sins by way of confession and by doing penance. As traditions have evolved, Shrove Tuesday has not only become a day for confession but also a time for Catholics to feast on eggs, sugar, and dairy, which are typically restricted during the Lenten fast, marking the beginning of the season of fasting and penitence.

Lent is also a time of Almsgiving, particularly to the vulnerable in our community. Catholic Parishes, along with Primary and Secondary Schools, not only in the Archdiocese of Melbourne but across numerous locations around Australia, support and donate to those in need in our world by participating in Project Compassion. This campaign, led by Caritas Australia, serves as the primary fundraising effort to raise much-needed funds to help alleviate poverty, promote justice, and uphold dignity in the most vulnerable and marginalised communities in the world. To kickstart the College’s efforts to support Project Compassion, the Year 12 prefects organised the sale of pancakes, pikelets, and crumpets on Shrove Tuesday. These delicious treats were also served with various traditional condiments of either cream, butter, lemon, sugar, and maple syrup.

Ash Wednesday

The Liturgical season of Lent is a time of repentance, fasting, and almsgiving for Christians. In these weeks leading up to the season of Easter, we as a Catholic community are preparing ourselves for the celebration of the Lord's Resurrection. To mark this beginning, we partake in the Holy Day of fasting, with the abstinence from meat, and prayer known as Ash Wednesday. It is also where we receive ash on our forehead (usually in the form of the cross) derived from ancient Jewish traditions with the distribution of ashes coming from a ceremony of ages past within the Christian community. The ashes symbolise the dust from which God made us. As the ashes are applied to a person's forehead, the words: "Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return” are spoken or alternatively, the words, "Repent and believe in the Gospel” may be said.

To mark this significant moment in the Church’s Calendar, students and staff participated in a liturgical service around the college within pastoral groups or as a staff group, where senior student leaders administer the ashes to the various groups.

Michael Chesser
Director of Catholic Mission & Mercy Ethos