But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.”
Around the year 1600, the weather in Europe cooled a lot. That time is known as the ‘Little Ice Age.’ ‘The Little Ice Age’ lasted 300 years. Winters were brutally cold and summers were damp and chilly. Crops failed and people starved. The change in weather forced Dutch fishermen to build improved boats, capable of following fish farther to the west and surviving long trips through the rough seas. Undoubtedly, some of that new boat-building craft led to the ships of today.
Innovation often arises in periods of adversity. This year we have seen such invention sprout in the face of the coronavirus crisis. We have had to change the way we live, the way we connect to each other and the way we educate our children.
In his time, Joseph, the future father of Jesus, also faced adversity. He had made plans to marry the love of his life, Mary. Just as he was about to propose, Mary told him she was pregnant. I imagine that when Joseph first heard about the baby, he would have felt angry. Angry at Mary for getting herself pregnant and angry at God for allowing it to happen. I imagine he would have wanted to run a mile in a different direction, away from Mary. But then an angel appeared to him in a dream. The angel told Joseph not to be afraid and to marry her: that Mary was in fact telling the truth, and that her child was God’s child. Everything changed. Joseph understood that God had chosen Mary to carry this child and that God had chosen Joseph to be his earthly father.
Like St Joseph, my world got turned upside down unexpectedly at the end of 2019. My carefully laid out plans for 2020 suddenly changed in the same way Joseph’s plans for the future had to change. Yet, it was with the same strength, determination, excitement and trust in God that supported Joseph to go ahead and marry Mary that I said yes to taking up the role of Acting Principal at Our Lady of the River School. In the same way Joseph wrapped his arms around the precious baby Jesus, I wrapped my arms around the staff, the students and the families in the Our Lady of the River community. And like Dutch ship builders, this year, we were challenged to innovate teaching and learning to ensure that school improvement and enhanced learning outcomes for all students continued, despite a global pandemic.
The OLOR vessel is strong and sturdy and I feel immensely proud that together we have been able to successfully steer this ship from the rough waters in March into the calm waters of December.
I want to thank all students, families, staff and the School Board for the extraordinary ways in which you have supported all children, our school and myself during this unusual school year.
I wish all those who move on all the best for the future, we will remember you with warm thoughts and memories.
The kindness of the OLOR community has allowed me grow as a person and as a leader. I have made memories, had laughs and made friendships I will cherish forever. This year I have received so much more than I could ever give. Thank you!
Wishing you all blessed Christmas.
Nanda de Winter
For some time, Catholic Education South Australia has been lobbying to obtain better access to school buses for children attending Catholic schools in regional South Australia.
The Review of School Bus Services in Regional SA has been completed, and I am pleased to inform you that the State Government has committed $4 million over the next four years (one million dollars per annum plus 2.5% indexation) to subsidise transport costs for children who attend regional Catholic schools.
I would like to take this opportunity to recognise the SA Government, and particularly the Minister for Education, Minister Gardner MP, for supporting regional students and their families in this way.
Our school is one of a number of regional schools that will benefit from this funding. The way this money will be used varies from school to school as each school’s situation is unique.
More information is available in a letter that has been distributed to families.
This Sunday’s Gospel Message for Families
3rd Sunday in Advent Year B - 13th December 2020
“There stands among you, unknown to you, the one who is coming after me.”
Something to Think About
If somebody asked you to tell them who you really are, what would you say?
In today’s gospel, the people ask John the Baptist who he really is, and why he is baptising people. John says he is not the Messiah, nor Elijah, nor the Prophet. John tells the people that he is preaching and baptising in order to prepare for someone else who is coming after him. The person John is talking about must be very special, because John doesn’t even feel worthy to untie that person’s sandals. We know that the person John was taking about was Jesus.
A Reading from the Holy Gospel according to John 1:19-28
Jesus The Jewish leaders in Jerusalem sent priests and temple helpers to ask John who he was. He told them plainly, "I am not the Messiah." Then when they asked him if he were Elijah, he said, "No, I am not!" And when they asked if he were the Prophet, he also said "No!" Finally, they said, "Who are you then? We have to give an answer to the ones who sent us. Tell us who you are!" John answered in the words of the prophet Isaiah, "I am only someone shouting in the desert, 'Get the road ready for the Lord!'" Some Pharisees had also been sent to John. They asked him, "Why are you baptising people, if you are not the Messiah or Elijah or the Prophet?" John told them, "I use water to baptise people. But here with you is someone you don't know. Even though I came first, I am not good enough to untie his sandals." John said this as he was baptising east of the Jordan River in Bethany.
The Gospel of the Lord. Praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ.
Praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ.
Relating the story to the world today.
John helped the people to recognise Jesus in their midst. What are some of the signs of Jesus’ presence that you have experienced in your life? What do these signs tell us about God and God’s love for us?
Advent – Week Three – Joy
The candle we light this week reflects the joy that comes through Jesus’ arrival, and through the salvation he has gifted us.
Are you ready for Christmas?
“Be who God meant you to be and you will set the world on fire!”
Inspired by these words of St. Catherine of Siena, the Our Lady of the River Students and Staff shared their talents and values as they bought their “Fire to the Earth” to make the world a better place in 2020. This year’s diocesan theme aligns with the Catholic Church’s strong focus on offering hope in times of despair, helping those in need, standing up for justice and living with compassion and in service of others.
The first highlight of 2020 has been a small act of kindness by each of the students, in making ‘Thank You’ cards to show our appreciation to those vital community members that continued to brave times of uncertainty and worry, to provide essential services that have kept our community going while the world was asking us to stay at home to keep ourselves safe. What was initially an activity planned to engage our students in Catholic Education Week, turned out to be a valuable life lesson. The lovely surprise for us was the response we received. People went out of their way to let our students know how their actions impacted positively on their spirits.
Our Lady of the River’s second highlight was when Harriet in Year 2 spread her flames of generosity and courage, as she cut off her luscious long locks to raise awareness of and funds for two charities dear to her heart, Variety – the Children’s Charity and JDRF. Harriet had been previously growing her hair for two years and it had grown well past her waist. Harriet donated the hair that was cut off to 'Wigs for Kids' a charity that provides wigs for kids who have lost their hair due to medical conditions. Harriet made her school and family proud in helping children in need.
St. Catherine reminds us that every act big and small help to set the world on fire. It has been an enormous year filled with challenge and change. I am so proud to belong to a school where we support each other in times of need, challenge each other to think more deeply and inspire each other by setting examples. In doing so Our Lady of the River has become stronger in spirit. A spirit that calls us to care for much more than ourselves. I encourage you to spread your flames to make the world a better place.
May you be blessed with God’s most vibrant flames and Spirit.
Rosemary Perre Religious Education Coordinator.
The Witness is a bi-monthly publication released every February, April, June, August, October and December, please click the following link to view.
Co-editors; Jennifer Wainwright and Michael Preece.
The Southern Cross
Please click on the following link for the latest issue of The Southern Cross.
In late 2019, I was fortunate to be considered, and I accepted the Acting Principal at St Barbara's Parish School in Roxby Downs for 2020. I have learnt a lot from this experience, which upon my return, will benefit the Our Lady of the River School community into the future.
During my absence, Mrs Nanda de Winter was the acting Principal. I want to acknowledge her generosity in agreeing to take on the role of acting Principal for this period and congratulate her upon the successful way she did so. Nanda managed to keep the Our Lady of the River School functioning efficiently and navigated the challenges of COVID-19 which presented itself, earlier in the year.
As the coronavirus outbreak has shown, life can change quickly and again this week as your incumbent Principal; I've felt that change around planning for 2021.
Recently, I have reviewed classes for the incoming year, and it's exciting to see increased student enrolments in some classes. As a result, I concur that placing another teacher in the Years 3/4 grades is a solution in 2021. Over the holiday period, I will endeavour to employ the best educator to support our primary years.
Please be assured that this decision is in the children's best interests being educated at Our Lady of the River School and providing opportunities for other families to join our community. I will endeavour to keep the school community updated on any changes as the 2021 school year begins.
Please feel free to contact me via my email, email@example.com, in mid-January 2021 if you have any questions regarding this change or other related school matters.
Words can't explain how wonderful it is to be back home with my family in the Riverland, and I look forward to the adventures that 2021 brings. Please have an enjoyable New Year and may you all go with my love and blessings this Christmas season. Be proud of what has been and be hope-filled for the future which lies ahead. And remember…..Dr Seuss's message is simple but never foolish: "Life may be a 'Great Balancing Act,' but through it all 'There's fun to be done."
I can't wait for the fun in 2021 and beyond!
Mrs Ros Oates
Our Lady of the River School
Our Lady of the River are excited to offer our families a substantial drop in our school fees for 2021, please find below a more simplified fee structure showing a cost per family and a cost per family with a low income, if you have any questions or to check eligibility for the low income rate please contact the school on 0885821128 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Congratulations to the following students who are having a birthday in December/January:
Foundation - Amanat Kaur, Irmaan Singh, Ollie Williams
Year 1 - Catie Camilleri Turner, Adamantia Dalamagas
Year 2 - Mitchell Strong, Bailey Marr, Lilly Andrews
Year 3 - Isaac Martin, Abany Kuot
Year 4 - Claire Strong, Elysia Cresp, Kaiden Rundell, Kenzie Sweet,
Cruz Miegel, Annasia Dale
Year 5 - Luke Endemann, Nate Vallelonga, Ruby Wishart, Buvnoor Kaur
Year 6 - Riley Halupka, Slater Marsden, Kuljeet Bhatti
Year 7 - Constantine Vallelonga, Ayuen Kuot, Caroline Cross, Lily Rothe