Welcome back to Term Three. I do hope all of you enjoyed some quiet, restful and relaxing time together as families, after a busy winter term.
We all live in an increasingly busy world where digital devices, social media interactions and 24 hour news and information services mean that we are seldom alone and quiet. In many careers, there is now an expectation that employees will access and respond to emails and communication at any time of the day and night. Many of our students will be leaving school and entering employment where this expectation is a reality. Of course, being already used to 24hour connectedness through social media, their generation will not find this as much of an invasion as some of us in older generations. Our teenagers (or ‘screen-agers’) in many cases, are growing up without the ability to be completely alone and still and contemplative, without connectedness to the rest of the world. This creates its own pressures for our young people. Prayer, stillness and listening to God, is becoming rare. Our young people seldom have the time and environment to do this. The Mental Health Foundation has created the Mindfulness in Schools programme based on 35 years of worldwide research. St Peter’s College has been chosen to be part of this pilot through the Auckland University, for Year 7 & 8 students. Mindfulness has been linked to reduced stress, anxiety and depression and contributes to positive wellbeing, as well as offering an opportunity to be still in contemplative prayer. This is yet another way we can assist our students to learn to cope with the world around them in ‘Preparation for Life’. Our new study centre for senior students is another way of providing this quietness away from digital devices to allow for efficient study – read about this further on in our newsletter.
Hopefully by learning the skills to be still, quiet and aware we may experience God in the way Joy Cowley speaks about in her psalm:
May the mystery of God enfold us.
May the wisdom of God uphold us.
May the fragrance of God be around us.
May the brightness of God surround us.
May the wonder of God renew us.
May the loving of God flow through us.
May the peace of God deeply move us.
May the moving of God bring us peace.
Congratulations to our two travelling sports teams who both experienced great success during the holidays. You can read more about them later in this newsletter. I encourage as many of our school community as possible to support the Bishop’s Shield Public Speaking Competition between the four Catholic Secondary Schools of the Dunedin Diocese which we are hosting this year at the Church of the Blessed Sacrament in Ardwick Street from the 8th -10th August. Best of luck to all our students involved with this.
Have a great week – take some time to be still and quiet in the presence of God.
Nga mihi nui,