Dei to Dei

Dear Parents and Caregivers,

Last week at a conference for Catholic School Board Chairs, Archbishop Timothy Costelloe spoke of the significance of the role of Catholic schools as part of the mission of the Church. As a Principal, I join many others involved in Catholic education who share a common belief that for many of our families (especially those who are no longer active in their parishes), their Catholic school is the only exposure they have to the broader Church. The following are some excerpts from what Archbishop Costelloe had to say:

The Catholic school community occupies a unique place in the educational landscape of Western Australia and of Australia more generally. And while it is true to say that we offer a values-based education, and that this is one of those things which makes us so very attractive to so many parents, including those who do not share the Catholic faith, we must say a little more. After all, there are many other non-government schools, including Jewish and Muslim schools as well as schools administered by other Christian denominations, which also rightly claim to offer a values-based education. And it is equally true that government schools and especially those who work in them would object, quite rightly, to any suggestion that they are value-free spaces. A quick look at the websites of most government schools would see that they promote many values which we in the Catholic school system would also see as being at the heart of our efforts.

What makes Catholic schools unique is that they are, or at least should be, grounded in what I would call the Catholic world view. A world-view, or an ethos, is a particular way of understanding how the world works, and especially how human beings are meant to live in relationships with each other, with the world around them, and with God.

That there is a God, that God has come among us in Jesus, and that Jesus continues to be present to us in and through the Church – this is at the heart of the Catholic understanding of the world.  And it is this conviction which underpins the continued determination of the Church to support Catholic education as strongly and enthusiastically as we can.  If our fundamental convictions are right, then it would be unthinkable for us to fail to offer this view of life, this way of life, to our children and young people as a precious gift. Our Catholics schools, not just because they have religion classes but because they are communities which in everything they do seek to live by these convictions, are at the heart of the mission of our Church.

Our Archbishop has reiterated very well the enormous challenges and responsibilities we have as a Catholic school community.

The Encounter Days and Retreats offered to students at Mater Dei is just one example of how we might do things differently to schools in other systems. Thank you to those staff who organised and ran our Year 9 Encounter Days earlier this week, based around the theme of Good versus Evil. I am particularly grateful to Mr Clarke and Mrs O’Neill and their assisting staff; especially the staff who stepped in at short notice to run the various activities at St Anthony’s parish centre whilst Mrs O’Neill took leave for a family emergency.

One of our College’s four pillars is that of community. This was very evident in the Bernie Boss hall over the past weekend.

On Friday night our Year 7 and Year 8 students enjoyed their school social – thank you to Mrs Curtis and Ms Hodgson (Year Co-ordinators) who organised this event and to the staff who gave up their time to attend in a supervisory capacity. On Saturday night the P&F Quiz Night saw 17 tables trying to outdo each other in what was an enjoyable evening for those putting their brains and memories to good use, although this proved very frustrating for someone like myself whose memory was seriously tested. Thank you to P&F President Chris Albonico and his team of many helpers for putting on this event for the school community. This evening will see our Year 11 students enjoying their Dinner Dance at Bridgeleigh. Well done to Ms Croasdale (Year 11 Co-ordinator) for her efforts in organising this social occasion for our students and to the staff who are attending in support.

This week our College Band visited Whitford and Liwara Catholic Primary Schools to entertain the young people at an assembly and to encourage them to consider engaging in a music programme at secondary school – hopefully at Mater Dei College. They will be visiting another two primary schools in August. Next week will see the bump in and tech/dress rehearsals for the much anticipated opening night of our Grease Musical production on Friday. Having been on sale for several weeks, tickets for performances are now sold out. Thank you to Mrs Grayden, cast and crew for all their efforts over many months, we are confident that the audiences will love the show – as they say in theatre – break a leg!

Regards and God Bless,

John Aldous

Acting Principal