From the Principal

Our attention this week is drawn to the beginning of Holy Week, which we celebrate this coming Sunday. Jesus rode that day, two thousand or so years ago, on a young donkey, making a very humble entry into the great city of Jerusalem. People greeted him by waving palm branches, as recalled in the Gospel of Matthew:

“The crowds that went ahead of him and those that followed shouted, "Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest heaven!"

We refer to this Sunday as Palm Sunday, and it is a very important day in our faith. One word though for myself stands out about this day and it is the word used above describing Christ’s entry – ‘humble’. Humble, humility, is a very human trait, it’s certainly not exclusive, but rather it is inclusive to humanity. World religions, particularly those that share the very same foundations – Judaism, Islam and Christianity – all exhibit this trait. As we approach Easter, our Muslim friends are celebrating their ninth month – Ramadan – and are humbly fasting, whilst our Jewish friends are humbly preparing for Passover, which starts this year on the 5 April.

All three of these great world religions have so much in common, including the ‘founder’ of monotheistic thought, Abraham. For Christians, Abraham joined all peoples in belief, for Muslims he is an important link between all prophets from Adam through to Muhammad, and in Judaism he formed the very special relationship between God and those of the Jewish tradition; humility is very much a trait of Abraham, and I believe his descendants. Hence, when I saw the recent opening of the Abrahamic Family House on Saadiyat island in Abu Dhabi, an interfaith complex inspired by Human Fraternity and brought into creation by Pope Francis and by the al-Azhar Mosque (amongst others), I too was most humbled. An island that invites all, the three houses of worship - Imam Al-Tayeb Mosque, His Holiness Francis Church, and Moses Ben Maimon Synagogue – all in local proximity, set in the most beautiful of surroundings, respecting all, and adhering humbly to all is truly inspiring. If you have not had the pleasure of seeing the complex, please click here.

Conversation with Year 7 & 12 students

Over the last two weeks I have taken great joy in meeting with each Year 7 pastoral group, chatting about their transition into secondary schooling and reflecting upon their progress thus far in Term One. Their enthusiasm, honesty and energy in these sessions were very affirming and exciting. They shared with me their favourite subjects, and the things they have enjoyed – and much more, all of which I’m most appreciative!

I also commenced meeting Year 12 students in small groups, regrading their academic progress, and their final year of schooling at St Aloysius. They shared with me their reflections of moving to co-ed, their classes, challenges and their hopes.

These conversations explain why we love working with young people – complexity married with certainty, naivety married with determination and commitment married to resilience!

Mary Farah
College Principal