Kia ora te whanau
In the calendar of the Catholic Church, we are entering Holy Week beginning with Palm (or Passion) Sunday this weekend. Holy Week is a solemn time leading up to Holy Thursday and Good Friday, followed by the celebrations of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ on Easter Sunday, which is considered a time of ‘re-birth’ or renewal within the Catholic Church. To help prepare for this ‘renewal’, the Sacrament of Reconciliation will be offered to all students in the Chapel on Tuesday, and RE classes will also have their own reconciliation liturgies.
It is great to read of the achievements of so many of our students in the newsletter this week. While the results are what we read about, often the amount of work, resilience and dedication needed to achieve those results are less highlighted. Congratulations to the students and parents who have been involved in making this happen. We also wish all the best to the students heading to Timaru for the South Island Secondary School Athletics this weekend.
I have been away at the SPANZ Conference (Secondary Principals Association of NZ) this week, and was fortunate to hear some high-quality speakers. Interestingly, and in what was a complete coincidence, they all made mention of the lack of resilience and high rates of anxiety in the young people of our world today and quoted similar research that is of real concern. We are very lucky to still live in a part of the world where our children can know the value of play, they can explore the environment and our everyday surroundings, and where a strong work ethic and having part time jobs is still considered character building. Balance is the key word as always, and it is important that we, as parents, model ‘downtime’ – without digital devices! – to our children. We are not always good at doing this, and as a generation where being ‘busy’ is seen as a sign of importance, this role modelling hasn’t necessarily happened. With the Easter break not far away, I hope you get the opportunity to role-model downtime and go back to what may be considered ‘old fashioned’ family time doing things slowly together with plenty of face to face communication.
Come along and see our wonderful students in the Ball Parade tomorrow evening in the Hall. The Ball Committee have done a wonderful job this year and I am sure they will feel proud of their efforts tomorrow night when they get the chance to enjoy the fruits of their labour at the Town and Country Stadium.
Faith Fact for Holy Week
We know the story of palms being laid on the ground as Jesus entered Jerusalem. The beginning of the Holy Week journey to Easter. But what were these palms. They most likely were date palm fronds or leaves. Putting these leaves on the ground was an ancient way of honouring a person. In Europe there was a similar custom with any kind of leaf or branch. Here down south we do not grow palms so we use a conifer branch. In England in olden times a gentleman may lay his coat on the ground before an important woman so shoes would not get dirty. Often a similar laying down of an offering happens during a Powhiri in New Zealand. A way of showing much respect. The Palm leaves resemble this sentiment. If Jesus had been in New Zealand we would have used flax or any other leafy tree branch to lay before him to honour is him.