Lenten reflection as Term 1 draws to a close

It is just three weeks until we celebrate Easter and halfway through our season of Lent. Our 6-week Lenten period is a time of preparation for Easter. Universally Easter is a time when the Christian churches celebrate that most important event of the death and resurrection of Jesus and how this is the foundation of our faith and relationship with God. The gospel reading of last Sunday focussed on that great parable of the prodigal son. When Jesus shares the story of the son who left home with his inheritance, wasted it all and sought to return to his father. How his father on knowing this threw a big party to welcome him back at the behest of his brother, who loathed him for what his brother had done to his family. If we focus on the parable and try to make sense of it, we actually miss the point. We need to consider why Jesus told the parable which was as a response to criticism from the Jewish church leaders that he was mixing with people they considered undesirable or people they did not approve of.

At this time in 2019, it is even more urgent and imperative that as people of goodwill we embrace our diversity and reach out to those who are in most need of our help! This is what it means to prepare for Easter, to reach out and offer ourselves. Project Compassion is our way of supporting the works of goodwill with communities that need the greatest help. I encourage our Cardijn community to be generous in our giving in these weeks leading to the end of term.

Last week, our Year 12 students attended their retreat at three different retreat sites. I was delighted that I could spend time at each site and join in with the activities. Feedback from students has been extremely positive and all students feeling affirmed as young people of great potential with wonderful gifts and talents. This is the 31st year we have been involved in this program which continues to have powerful activities that have been consistent all these years. The parent letters, affirmation letters from their peers, sharing stories and celebrating diversity. Congratulations to Joseph Catania APRIM, retreat staff, House Leaders and Year 12 mentor teachers.

Last Friday night also saw the conclusion of our Japanese Exchange visit by OSAKO Seiko Gakuen high school. This yearly event was an outstanding success with students really valuing their experience of Australia. Thank you to the host families and students, Ms Mel Alexander our Studies in Asia coordinator and all staff who have supported the exchange.

Last week it was a privilege and delight to be present at the International Women’s Day Southern Community Award presentation night organised by Katrine Hildyard MP, Member for Reynell at South Adelaide Panthers FC at O’Sullivan’s Beach.

The evening was the southern community’s opportunity to recognise and show appreciation for the outstanding contribution that women have made in volunteering or working to make a real difference to the lives of people in the community.

Judith Botha was recognised for her outstanding contribution to teaching and her contribution to the lives of 1000s of students she has taught and nurtured since she began teaching in 1975. Her inspirational and passionate leadership of Catholic Education at Cardijn College which began in 1990, her contribution to our Noarlunga/Seaford Parish and her love for the people and community of the South. We are very proud of Judith and her work in raising the awareness of women in leadership, women in the workforce and her compassion and nurturing of our students, families and staff.

Dr Paul Rijken is principal of Cardijn College, a Catholic secondary co-educational school (7-12) in the southern region of Adelaide with a total of 1120 students and 140 staff. Marcellin is a campus of Cardijn College. It provides students in Years 10 to 12 with SACE, training and apprenticeships. It has an enrolment of over 155 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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