A big heart open to God
In 2013 Pope Francis likened the Church to a field hospital after a battle. He suggested it was useless to ask a seriously injured person if they had high cholesterol or about the level of blood sugars.
‘You have to heal their wounds. Then we talk about everything else. Heal the wounds, heal the wounds…. and you have to start from the ground up.’ (From “A Big Heart Open to God,” America Magazine 19 September 2013)
It is a particularly pertinent message at a time when Australian Catholics are being asked to reflect and comment on the future of the Catholic Church via engagement with the 2020 Plenary Council. In recent weeks we have commenced a period of engagement with our students and I encourage families to become similarly involved at Parish level.
There was much to celebrate at this week’s Presentation Night. It is a special night on our Calendar which enables reflection on the past year and an opportunity of dreaming for the future. During my presentation, I provided some insights into planning at the College. It is much more than buildings and facilities; it is re-imagining what a Catholic education in the Ignatian tradition may look like in the years to come. We will need to ensure that the College provides relevant and contemporary learning programs which inspire and engage our students. Our aim is to provide an aspirational learning journey for all students from Pre-Kindergarten to Year 12.
We already have very talented staff and we remain committed to attracting and developing the best possible personnel and ensuring that John XXIII College is a first-choice destination for teachers as well as students and families. Collective teacher efficacy is identified as the most important school-based factor determining student success.
At Presentation Night and in our Yearbook, ‘Companions’, we also alluded to planning for an increased number of students. Currently there is a strong demand for places and we need to at least envisage the possibility of a third classroom stream in the Primary School and a seventh secondary class per year level. However, we are very mindful that any decision made to enhance student numbers at our College may have a detrimental impact on enrolments in other schools. Therefore, there are no current plans to initiate that discussion.