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College Theme 2016 (Issue 1 2016)

Written on the 11 February 2016

A God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness.
Exodus 34:6

The College Theme this year continues the tradition established in previous years of drawing on the national Marist Schools Australia theme. This year it is Mercy: This is the name of our God. Anthony Clarke, Director of the Marist Life and Formation team in Sydney explains:

"When Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio, the future Pope Francis, read the title of Cardinal Walter Kasper's new book 'Mercy' at the most recent conclave he exclaimed; 'Ah mercy! This is the name of our God'. The title immediately resonated, as it described a God rich in mercy (Eph 2:4) and recognised the deep human need for people to experience it. No one is spared from difficulties, hardship, pain or suffering; and we share the desire for justice, compassion and love

The Jubilee Year of Mercy is an invitation to open our hearts to the healing and restoring gift God offers. It is an invitation for our Marist communities to build a culture of mercy, taking up Pope Francis' challenge to make the mercy and tenderness of God visible through our ability to heal wounds and warm hearts. It is an invitation to wash, clean, heal and raise up. Life and balance is restored."

This theme was launched at the Senior School on Ash Wednesday for our Opening Mass. Our Opening Mass is always a huge occasion, and we were blessed to have it fall on Ash Wednesday, a day Catholics begin the season of Lent and look to how they can grow closer to our Merciful God through prayer, repentance and simple living. The entire student and staff cohort participated in the Mass and received ashes on their forehead, a sign of mortality and repentance in Jewish and Christian traditions.

Our Mass also saw the College Student Leaders commissioned before their peers and families where they swore an oath and prayed for God's blessing upon them.

As always, we were very lucky to have Monsignor Ian Dempsey presiding over our special occasion. Monsignor Ian gave some sound advice on what we might seek to do this Lent including suggesting our students help out at home(!) whilst also helping to explain the theme of "Mercy" to the students. Special thanks should also go to our musicians who were absolutely magnificent. Old Scholars Kelvin Maynes, Brooke Miller and their colleague Grace Frick from the Brighton Parish, together with music teachers Dan Ryan and Bianca Pittman contributed to a long and proud association with Sacred Heart Old Collegians continuing their involvement at the school.

Daniel Head
Director of Marist Mission

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