The Spirit of John XXIII College
At our College Assembly last week, the Year 12s formed a ‘spirit tunnel’ as a guard of honour to welcome our Year 7 students. It was a case of the ‘village elders’ inducting our new secondary cohort into the spirit of John XXIII College. We often acknowledge our history and tradition at the College and I explained that we also have the responsibility of starting new traditions.
I reflected on this ‘spirit’ at Mass on Sunday. I had the pleasure of attending Holy Rosary, Nedlands for Fr Joe Sobb SJ's final celebration of the Eucharist before leaving Western Australia. It was a very significant occasion as it marked the end of a long direct association of the Jesuits in Western Australia. St Louis (our original boys’ school) was founded in 1938, so it has been an 80 year affiliation. Interestingly, the original intention was to open a school south of the river and Attadale Parish is named St Joseph Pignatelli after the Spanish Jesuit saint. Some of the streets in that suburb have Jesuit names (one of our teachers lives in Loyola Way).
After Mass, Archbishop Timothy Costelloe and Jesuit Leader, Fr Brian McCoy SJ both traced the history of the Jesuit involvement in Western Australia and reflected on the important role that John XXIII College has in passing on that spirit and ethos. We wish Fr Joe well as he moves to South Australia and thank him for the great work he has done in his parish and at John XXIII College.
As always, everything we do is based on the Gospel values of Jesus. This week we celebrated Ash Wednesday and I share this lovely reflection to mark the beginning of Lent:
Gritty ashes on our foreheads, sprinkling down our faces and clothing.
A dirty cross – there are no clean ones.
Remember our mortal ash, dust and dirt.
Lent is an annual opportunity, blest time, to re-engage with our mortal humanity.
The undertone to every human breath we take.
It’s truth-time, to count our blessings and note our frailties.
To learn again what could be changed, can be changed or cannot,
and seek the wisdom to know the difference.
It’s a time to join Jesus in the desert, confident that He is there too.
(Fr Andy Bullen SJ Parish Priest, St Mary’s North Sydney)