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Friday, August 4th 2017

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Term 3 Week 3: From the Principal

In virtue of mission to spread the light of the gospel’s message over the entire globe, and to bring people of whatever nation, race or culture together in the one Spirit, the church comes to be a sign of that kinship (fraternitas) which makes genuine dialogue possible and rigorous. Gaudium et spes, n.92 (1965)

Marist Schools Australia, Biennial Conference
Mr Daniel Lynch, Mrs Nikita Shaw, Br Terry Orrell and I attended the Marist Schools Australia Biennial Conference this week in Melbourne comprising over 54 Marist Schools. The keynote speaker was Rev Dr Kevin Lenehan (Catholic Theological College Melbourne) who presented on Faith in a Secular Context. In our modern western culture, we have seen a shift from an unchallenged and unproblematic belief in God to a belief in God as “one option among others, and, frequently not the easiest to embrace” (A Secular Age, Charles Taylor, 2007). This is supported by the recent Census Data (2016) which has seen a sharp decline in those identifying as Christian.

For Newman College, this contention and supporting indicator presents numerous challenges for how we engage in growing our Catholic identity and mission. The phenomena in Australia of pluralism, de-traditionalisation, and individualism calls us to practices which include a new and profound dialogue. Fr Lenehan contends that as a Catholic school we must continually ensure that our Catholic identity is in dialogue within the context of practical secularity; put simply - the world in which we live.

In our own Marist community we seek to create experiences for our students, their families and staff that are informed by the charism of Saint Marcellin Champagnat as an expression of the Gospel message of Jesus. Our new Ministry Plan will identify how we will commit to be a community of faith with a focus on prayer, sacrament, parish partnership, service and advocacy.

Picture1Marist College Bendigo / Assumption Kilmore visit
Whilst in Victoria we took the time to visit two independent Marist schools. The focus of our visits was to see their respective Vision for Learning and their learning spaces. The visit provided support to the development of our Vision for Learning 'Shine through Discovery'. In addition, the visit to Kilmore also provided Br Terry with an opportunity to visit old friends as he is a former Principal. It was a real privilege to witness the respect and value of his presence and memory of the people of Kilmore. (Photo shows Newman College staff with Principal Ms Kate Fogarty.)

Psychological Services, PK-12
At the end of Term 2 and the beginning of Term 3, we have had Jordan Forster, Clinical Psychologist – Ysafe Solutions, working with our staff to explore the best way in which to deliver psychological services across the College into the future. Jordan has made her recommendations to the Leadership Team and they will be disseminated with staff and College Council in the coming weeks. It will provide the basis for our ongoing wellbeing framework and resourcing.

Arts Festival Committee
The Arts Festival Committee will be convening later in Term 3 to plan the 2018 event. In the meantime, the Committee is seeking a Chairperson and also two Art Coordinators. It is hoped that these positions can be filled within the next few weeks and the successful candidates available to attend the first meeting. I ask those interested to make contact with me via Josie Parker at the earliest convenience.

Newman Parents Consultative Committee Meeting
All parents are invited to this meeting which is being held next Monday 7 August at 7.00pm, in the Marist Auditorium. Members of the Leadership Team will address the Annual School Improvement Plan and other issues such as the Behaviour Management Policy, appointment of Youth Chaplain and Ministry Program, new website development, funding / tuition fees and student devices to be used in 2018.

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