Message from EREA National Executive following the conviction and sentencing of Cardinal George Pell
Dear Parents and Friends of St Edmund’s College
Please read below a message from the EREA National Executive that was circulated to all EREA school communities this week.
‘Responding faithfully in a time of crisis for our Church we write in relation to the ongoing developments concerning the trial, conviction, sentencing and appeal processes connected to Cardinal George Pell. It would be true to say that we are currently in the midst of a crisis to which our communities are reacting with shock, disbelief, sadness, confusion and anger. During times such as this, it is difficult to find the words to respond, to have perspective, to articulate what it means for each of us and our communities.
At a time when every expression of our Church is under threat, we are challenged by so many questions:
How do we lead? How do we participate? How do we teach Religious Education? How do we define authority? How can I raise my own voice without fear? How do we celebrate? Pray? How do we speak of justice? How do we speak about the church to our young people, to our parents, to each other? How do we enter a church? How can we speak and act hopefully? How do we identify as Catholic? How does my experience of the church, of my school, sustain me? How do we continue to contribute in this time of crisis?
Our answers to these questions may be different, our responses may vary, but all are valid and contribute to a better understanding of the Church we aspire to be. All who contribute to Catholic Education in Australia should feel confident in their capacity to make a difference, to contribute to the realisation of the potential of our young people. Hierarchical models, which are often flawed, do not define us as a Christian community nor should they limit the impact we can have.
Our Charter is a foundation upon which our strengths can be affirmed and our own weaknesses can be overcome. Our Touchstones challenge us to reflect on the potential of a liberating education. The gospel calls us to engage meaningfully in our spiritual search. Our commitment to inclusion continues to be courageous. Our emphasis on justice and solidarity drives us forward as a community open to transformation.
These characteristics could equally define our Church at its best. Regrettably, much of what we are currently experiencing does not reflect this. Let us be confident, however, that the Church we aspire to be can find a voice at this time and in the future.’
The National Executive Edmund Rice Education Australia ‘In Principle Approval’ to proceed with Open Learning Centre Capital Building Project
I am delighted to announce that EREA has given ‘in principle approval’ for the College to proceed with our next major Capital Building Project which is the construction of an Open Learning Centre to replace the existing Resource Centre. The Open Learning Centre is planned to be built on the existing site of the Br O’Brien Building (current administration) and will serve the College as the new library facility.
The College has commissioned Mark Gibson Architects to design the new building which we are hoping will be constructed in early 2020 subject to the approval processes. We are also submitting a Block Grant Application (BGA) to the Queensland Catholic Education Commission to seek government funding assistance for the project. I will continue to keep you updated as we progress through these important approval stages. Suffice to say that with EREA ‘in principle approval’ we are one step closer to fulfilling the next phase of our College Master Plan, the construction of an Open Learning Centre.
National Day of Action Against Bullying
Today is the National Day of Action Against Bullying and I wish to remind parents how they can respond to their son if he encounters bullying in any way. The advice below comes from the Australian Government website: Bullying No Way - https://bullyingnoway.gov.au
How Parents Can Respond
Children and young people need to know that they are being heard, that their feelings matter and that their issue will be investigated respectfully. Bullying should be taken seriously.
Listen calmly and get the full story
Your calm response is important to allow your child to tell you all about the situation. After they’ve told you their story, ask questions to get more details if you need to: who, what, where, when.
Your first response when a child tells you of a concern can make a difference to the outcome.
Although you may feel some strong emotions about your child’s experience, try to keep calm to avoid more distress to your child.
Reassure your child they are not to blame
Many children blame themselves and this may make them feel even worse.
You could say things like, ‘That sounds really hard to deal with. No one should have to put up with that.’ or ‘I’m so glad you told me. You should be able to feel safe at school; that’s not fair at all’.
Ask your child what they want to do and what they want you to do
A critical part of your response is to avoid jumping in to solve the problem.
While it is natural to want to protect your child, helping them to find their own solution is a better option. It helps them feel they have some power in the situation.
Contact the school
Your child may be reluctant for you to do this, so discuss the idea and reassure them that the school would want to know and is able to help.
Make an appointment to meet with your child’s teacher and, if you need to, ask to talk with the principal. Contact the school immediately if you have a concern about your child’s safety. Read more about parents and schools working together.
Check in regularly with your child
Keep the conversation going. It can take time to resolve issues, so check in regularly with your child about their experiences and their feelings. Your ongoing support is important.
PHOTOS OF THE WEEK
Live, Jesus, in our hearts. Forever.
Diarmuid O'Riordan, Principal