Dear Parents, Students, Staff and Friends of the Magdalene Community,
It has been another wonderful week at Magdalene.
Students performed admirably in terms of their athletic prowess and also their school spirit at Tuesday’s Athletics Carnival. The students entered into the day with a great attitude and were very supportive of one another. Our Year 12s gave their full support to the day and were very creative in their choice of attire and fancy dress. I would like to thank Mr Hewitt and all of the PDHPE staff and general staff for their support on the day.
MAGDALENE FEAST DAY
At the time of concluding this entry the Feast Day is well underway and there is substantial excitement and a wonderful energy in support of the School.
The Mass was quite lovely and I think it is appropriate to include most of my address here:
“I believe we are blessed to be able to have the opportunity to be educated at a school like Magdalene Catholic High School.
Indeed, there is much of which to be proud:
- We are about to enter our 20th successful year as a school
- We have built a strong reputation in the local community
- We have a history of strong sporting and academic successes
- We have very committed and dedicated staff
- We have a very impressive student body.
- And the list continues …
Therefore, I am very comfortable to say that I am lucky and proud to work at Magdalene.
Yet the ideas of ‘being proud’ and pride itself – well, we need to be very careful of such concepts.
Pride you see is not always positive. It can also relate to arrogance, selfishness and feelings of superiority.
Many of you will have read the great Christian writer CS Lewis’ Narnia Chronicles. He once said the following about pride:
“each person’s pride is in competition with everyone else’s pride. Pride is essentially competitive, it is competitive by its very nature … Pride gets no pleasure out of having something, only out of having more of it than the next person. We say that people are proud of being richer, or cleverer, or better looking than others. If everyone else became equally rich, or clever, or good looking, there would be nothing to be proud about. It is the comparison that makes you proud: the pleasure of being above the rest.”
However, there are several ways one can avoid tendencies towards self-centredness and false pride.
One of these measures is to be grateful. The more we say thank you for what we are given - the more we are able to take the focus off ourselves.
So many people are responsible for this quality school which we celebrate today and there are so many people in our lives who have helped us to be the people that we are at this point in our lives. People have shown love and devoted finances, time, energy, patience and compassion towards you. So I hope we do thank our friends, our family, our teachers and all those who care for us daily.
A second way to avoid being proud in a negative sense is to practice “servanthood”.
This is where we are blessed by Mary Magdalene’s guidance and example. When Mary Magdalene’s special day in the Church’s calendar moved from being a memorial last year to becoming recognised as a fully-fledged Feast Day, it was clear that Mary Magdalene’s memory was being restored in a timely and important fashion. Indeed, she is a lesson for all Christians to trust in the Christ who is: “alive and risen.”
Pope Francis had previously reminded us that her tears at Christ's empty tomb were a reminder that (and I quote): “sometimes in our lives, tears are the lenses [from which] we need to see Jesus.” You see Saint Mary Magdalene: “proclaimed life from the tomb, a place of death.”
Despite grief, uncertainty and fear, Mary Magdalene did what she needed to do to offer “servanthood” and this is a great model for us to overcome our own pride or self-doubt.
Mary knew, that despite the great threat that the Romans posed in her day, (remember Jesus had been arrested, brutalised and then executed), she knew, that Jesus’ ministry and message were critical.
It was she that empowered the disciples to preach and, with the Holy Spirit, was able to get them out from hiding in the days and weeks after Jesus’ death. By giving of ourselves – we are being ambassadors for Christ.
Our work in Brewarrina, our ongoing work with aged-care facilities like Carrington, our community service work as part of Duke of Edinburgh, our financial support and efforts to support countless charities such as Westmead Children’s Hospital, our substantial work with St Vincent de Paul and the Vinnies Van … the list goes on and on … but I mention these now not to show inappropriate pride but rather to say that this is who we are.
I hope that all students can find a way, if they are not already, to participate and help others in a meaningful way. By doing so we fully recognise that the world is much bigger than ourselves and that by helping others we are being true to Mary Magdalene’s example.
To the staff: magnificent, dedicated and really caring about the students and their life chances, you make a real contribution and I thank you. I am proud of your commitment to the greater life of the school - and that makes the difference.
I also acknowledge the student body: you know I am new here but I really am sensing that you rise to the occasion at these special events and I am impressed by your generosity, your efforts and for who you are.
I finish today with another quote: “Our greatest achievement is to be ourselves … in a world that is constantly trying to get us to be something else.”
So Magdalene students I challenge you to attain yourself, your real and truly great self - just as Mary Magdalene did, to make a difference in the world and help us to be closer to Jesus and preach the good news in our everyday lives, words and actions. Happy Magdalene Feast Day.”
What better than in honour of Mary Magdalene’s Feast Day and the School’s Feast Day than to pray the School Prayer this week:
Jesus, you chose Mary Magdalene
to be the first witness to
Help us to be filled with the
power of your Spirit.
May we become witnesses
to your love and healing
both within and beyond
Pray for us.
Mr Matthew McMahon