Dear Parents, Students, Staff and Friends of the Magdalene Community,
This fortnight as we move closer to the most important period of the Church’s year, Easter, I would like to reflect on two main themes: mercy and presence.
Firstly, and this relates back to the inspirational words of Pope Francis, the notion of the Church as ‘Field Hospital’ is worth exploring. Back in 2013 Pope Francis was very aware of aspects of the Church’s brokenness and the need to emphasise notions of mercy. Accordingly, he wrote:
“To follow the way of the Lord, the Church is called on to dispense its mercy over all those who recognise themselves as sinners … The Church does not exist to condemn people, but to bring about an encounter with the visceral love of God’s mercy.
“I often say that in order for this to happen, it is necessary to go out: to go out from the churches and the parishes, to go outside and look for people where they live, where they suffer, and where they hope. I like to use the image of a field hospital to describe this ‘Church that goes forth’. It exists where there is combat. It is not a solid structure with all the equipment where people go to receive treatment for both small and large infirmities. It is a mobile structure that offers first aid and immediate care, so that its soldiers do not die.
“It is a place for urgent care, not a place to see a specialist … a Church that goes forth toward those who are ‘wounded’, who are in need of an attentive ear, understanding, forgiveness and love.” (Pope Francis, 2013, The Name of God is Mercy)
In many ways, there is much brokenness in the world in which we live and much incivility or even apathy towards others. Therefore, I believe it is critical that we provide opportunities to listen to one another, to show a willingness to consider one another’s points of views and, critically, to show kindness to one another.
With Easter only just over a fortnight away it is also timely to consider the individual who our School was named after. Much has been written over the years about Mary Magdalene. Many years ago she was incorrectly associated with being a woman of sin. That she was healed of certain afflictions (current theological stances point towards deep anxiety and/or depression) is known, yet we also know that she was a great supporter of Jesus – both financially and emotionally. She was also a woman of strength who Jesus chose to be the first witness of His resurrection. From such a task she then became the first evangeliser who helped to give strength to the Disciples and encourage their evangelical work.
Jesus would not have chosen an individual to perform such duties unless she had impressive qualities. Not surprisingly, Mary Magdalene is a wonderful example of being present to others - for it is from presence that understanding and love of one another can stem.
As we move towards the Paschal Triduum, not only do I encourage families to attend mass together on Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and Easter Sunday, but I encourage our students and families to exercise mercy and presence towards one another and to those in need. The School provides numerous opportunities for students to be involved in Social Justice initiatives – and these are vital – but everyday provides an opportunity to reach out to others.
CAMPS (YEAR 7 & 9)
In the next newsletter these reports will be written about in detail (photos in this newsletter), but until then can I just commend students on their approach and staff for being so generous with their time. Events such as these simply cannot happen unless we have a spirited and kind-hearted staff; thank you!
Jesus allow me to identify with Mary in every aspect of Your powerful story.
May I ask for strength at the times when I am thrown and rendered sightless by the unexpected, injustice, and/or my own misguided actions.
Give me strength at times I feel alone, lose heart, or am fearful. Be with me in my pain and brokenness.
May Mary Magdalene be a source of hope. Mary of Magdala: desolate and grief-stricken, rushing through the dark, carrying her ointments, shocked to find You missing, and running off to seek inspiration, consolation and moral support in Your face, Jesus.
I pray that You will enable me to leave my tombs behind, give me a new passion for the Good News, for intimacy with You through Your people, life and service. May I see not an empty tomb but a fertile garden, bursting with possibilities of mercy and presence towards others.
Mr Matthew McMahon