The Gospel and the Commonwealth
Jesus lived in a remote part of the Roman Empire where the majority eked out an existence. One of the few ways in which redistribution of wealth could occur was by voluntarily giving to the poor. So Jesus instructs his followers: ‘Sell your possessions and give generously to those in need.’
We live in a very different society: ‘The Commonwealth of Australia.’ ‘Common-wealth’ indicates that the wealth of this nation, its people and resources, are meant to be directed to the common good.
So, we must respond to Our Lord’s command in ways very different to what was possible in his day.
We have a compulsory taxation system which forces us to give up some of our possessions, some of our wealth to the common-wealth. Taxation and social justice policies help fulfil Our Lord’s command to create a society more humane than anything remotely possible under the Roman Empire. And that would please Our Lord. Why?
In part because those in need are helped. But, perhaps in greater part, because it makes us larger hearted people. We have to arrive at the moment of death with a heart so capacious that it can include the billions of people we hope inhabit heavenly existence.
We might pause for a moment to pray for our hearts to be expanded by our contribution to the common-wealth of all peoples throughout the world.
Reflection by Fr Michael Tate
St Mary of the Cross MacKillop 8th August
On Monday, August 8, we celebrate the feast day of our school founder, Saint Mary of the Cross MacKillop. Mary chose to make a difference to the society in which she lived in the 19th Century by educating the poor and helping them build a life through faith and understanding.
As a school community, we will be acknowledging with deep gratitude the efforts of the Sisters of Saint Joseph of the Sacred Heart, who once led our school, with a special Mass at 9 am on Monday, August 8, in the church. Parents are welcome to join us.
As we think about St Mary, we are reminded of one of the mottos she lived by, to “Never see a need without doing something about it”. At OLOR we try to follow this same motto. We constantly strive to show empathy, care and love for all. We try to raise awareness for those in need in both our community and further afield. We try to instill into students a desire to do what is right, to help those who need it, and to follow Gospel values as we do so. St Mary did so much to ensure that schools like ours existed. As a school it is important that we remember that this is where we came from. After visiting Penola a couple of years ago and seeing the sites where Mary first began her journey into Catholic Education, I feel like her message and beliefs are more relevant than ever in our school.
Just as Saint Mary MacKillop did, we too are also called to make a difference, with a spirit of generosity, open to the changing needs of society and prepared to stand with people in the ordinary circumstances of their existence. On Monday, August 8, the students are encouraged to express their faith commitment through action and come to school dressed in the theme of being a student back in the early 1900s. We ask families for a gold coin donation.
The Assumption of the Most Blessed Virgin Mary – 15th August
On the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, we remember when Mary was taken into heaven, body and soul. A tradition handed down from the earliest days of the Church says that Mary died in Jerusalem and was buried in a tomb. When the apostles opened the tomb again, her body was gone. Just like the way her son's body had disappeared. Why would God take Mary’s body and soul into heaven? In part because Mary is special to God: she said “yes” to becoming the mother of Jesus. But God also wanted to show us that one day, all of us will share in the bodily resurrection of Jesus. Mary is the first person in the Church to experience the resurrection in its fullness.
A big thankyou to everyone who has already welcomed me to the school. I look forward to getting to know the whole school community and supporting families to make OLOR a great school to send your children.
We have had a great start to Term 3. Students are back into classroom learning and routines and building on the great work that happened at the start of the year. We’ve also had a great start to the other events that happen at school. Our Year 5/6 girls won the SAPSASA Basketball competition in Loxton last week, and the boys did an admirable job in their games. This week we have had Dancify lessons all week, and it has been great to see the enthusiasm that this has brought to classes as they learn new dance moves and steps. With Class Masses and Assemblies coming up soon, as well as whole school events like Book Week, we look forward to a variety of educational experiences for all students.
For those who haven’t had the chance to meet me yet, I look forward to getting to know your stories and what you love about OLOR. I have considerable experience in many schools across the Riverland, having worked at St Joseph’s Renmark as a teacher, APRIM, Inclusive Education Co-ordinator and Acting Principal, before my Acting Principal role at St Albert’s in Loxton last semester. I also have many years of experience in Adelaide, interstate and overseas, and look forward to sharing my knowledge and experience as part of developing a future direction for OLOR. I respect and love the Josephite tradition at OLOR and hope that together we can all work together to reimagine and reinvigorate the direction of the school in light of the example of St Mary of the Cross MacKillop.
As I mentioned in the letter sent out at the beginning of term, I welcome any feedback and want to work with families to support your children in their learning and growth. Please get in contact if you have any concerns or things you would like to discuss, as well as for any positive feedback, which is always welcome.
With COVID being an ongoing concern in the community we ask families to support us in our care for all in our community by keeping children home if they have any symptoms, as well as letting us know if you have any positive cases in the family. Masks are still encouraged for students in Years 3-6 and any adults visiting the school for indoor meetings or events. By working together we can minimise the impact that the virus has on everyone at school and continue to provide ongoing education to all students.
Once again, thank you for the welcome and I look forward to getting to know you and your children better in the coming months and years.
Random Acts of Kindness
The positive effects of kindness are experienced in the brain of everyone who witnessed the act, improving their mood and making them significantly more likely to “pay it forward.” This means one good deed in a crowded area can create a domino effect and improve the day of dozens of people. Here are a few evidence-based facts:
1. Engaging in acts of kindness produces endorphins, the brain’s natural painkiller.
2. Doing acts of kindness leads to an increase in relationship satisfaction and a decrease in social avoidance in socially anxious individuals.
3. Helping others helps you to feel stronger and more energetic as well as feeling calmer and less depressed, with increased feelings of self-worth.
4. People who volunteer live a longer more satisfied life.
5. Giving makes us feel happy. One study found that giving money to someone else lifted happiness more that spending it on themselves.
How to be kind
Being kind isn’t rocket science – we all do it every day. But as it’s so beneficial, and so contagious, here are some tips and ideas so you can incorporate even more kindness into your day:
The Bookfair has been a huge success. Thank you to everyone that has made a purchase.
With each purchase made it earns learning and literacy resources for our school.
If you haven't made it in yet there are still two more days finishing 3:45pm Tuesday 9th August. It is located in the library and open 8:30am-8:50am and again at 3:15pm-3:45pm. Eftpos and cash payments accepted.
The Berri Barmera Council have congratulated OLOR students on their creative entries to the Recycling Challenge. They looked great displayed alongside the work of other schools.
A big congratulations to Oscar Strong, for creating the winner of the Incentive Prize! Well done to all students who submitted an entry.
Welcome Bright Start students!
This term we have welcomed a new group of Bright Start students. In their first term they attend school for half a day each week, and then next term they transition to a full day. This is a great way to introduce our new students to the school environment and routines. We have lots of fun learning about letters and numbers, singing, dancing, refining our fine motor skills with activities and games and lots more. If your child is 4 (or will be soon), please contact us for more information about how to become involved in our free Bright Start program.
This week, our choir students attended their third cluster rehearsal and practised singing all of their repertoire without their books. They have demonstrated excellent dedication and have been great representatives of our school when at rehearsals.
Our final performance is only 3 weeks away! Tickets are available on the Chaffey Theatre website for our performance on Tuesday the 23rd of August. We would love to see you there.
This week our students participated in Dancify dance lessons. It has been a lot of fun and students have loved it. Thanks to Kayla for all her efforts and support with the students. We hope the families that joined us for the final performance enjoyed it.
School Van – Important information
The purchase of the OLOR van has been a huge success and is now in very high demand. As a result we have had to initiate some eligibility rules around the use of the service. If you live within a 1km radius of the school, you will no longer be eligible for the bus run unless there are special circumstances, (please discuss any special circumstances with Michael Slagter). The Berri OSHC drop off will be an exception to this rule. Please see the map attached below which outlines the area not eligible.
Due to rising fuel costs and staffing costs to run the service, there will also be an added charge of $1.00 per trip per student, which will be charged at the end of every term. These changes will take effect from Monday the 15th of August.
If you have any other questions or concerns, please contact Michael Slagter on 0433 291 009 or email - firstname.lastname@example.org
Would you mind ensuring that your child's uniform and school items are clearly named to reduce the number of children looking for lost property? If your child does access spare clothes, please return these to the school.
A reminder that school uniform items are accessible through Tri-State Graphics, 216 Renmark Avenue, Renmark Ph: 8586 5815