November – a month for remembrance

The month of November is a very special month for remembering. November 1st is All Saints Day and November 2nd is All Souls Day. All Saints Day is a celebration of the Saints of the Catholic Church.

A few weeks ago the Catholic Church officially recognised Oscar Romero (Patron of Romero House) as a Saint. St Oscar Romero was recognised and remembered as a martyr who lived and died for the rights of his people in El Salvador during a time of oppression and severe poverty. All Saints Day encourages ALL of us to live a saintly life and to make a difference to this world.

At Cardijn we are guided by St Mary of the Cross MacKillop, St Maximillian Kolbe and St Marcellin Champagnat and all of the saints in our Church.

All Souls Day is a time to remember the people we love who have passed away. In my case, I remember with deep love and affection my own parents, a father who passed away just over one year ago and a mother who passed away at a young age, both my parents in law as well as my sister and brother in law. There are many loved ones in our lives who we remember during this month.

Memory is a grace-filled action and moment, and this year on November 11 across Australia we pause and remember all those who have fallen as a result of war. Armistice Day is significant in 2018 as it recognises the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I.

The ANZAC tradition is deeply ingrained in the psyche of Australians and it is heartening to see the response by young Australians to remember our men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice. In World War I alone, over 400,000 men were sent to war, with 62,000 dead and over 150,000 wounded. The population in Australia at the time of World War I was just under 5 million people with 2.5 million males – this equates to 20% of the male population at the time.

The Ode of Remembrance is recited on this day.

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.

Dr Paul Rijken is principal of Cardijn College, a secondary co-educational school in the southern region of Adelaide with a total of 900 students and 120 staff. Marcellin Technical College is a campus of Cardijn College. It provides students in Years 11 and 12 with SACE, training and apprenticeships. It has an enrolment of over 120 students and 30 staff. Paul has been the principal at Cardijn College since 2005. He has a Ph.D. from Curtin University in Science and Mathematics Education. He is a Fellow of the Australian College of Educational Leaders.

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