This will be the last Carmeletta for Term 1 so I would like, again, to thank families for their support and understanding during this time of transition. Next week teachers will participate in system-wide professional learning to ensure that we can provide a safe and secure space for our community to teach, learn, collaborate and celebrate.
Nobody quite knows what Term 2 will hold, as responses to the COVID-19 pandemic continue to develop on a daily basis, but any developments or announcements from Catholic Education or from State and Federal Governments that may affect this position will be passed on to all immediately. At this stage it is our intention that Mt Carmel School will be delivering remote learning to all students from the beginning of the term. We have no advice to suggest how long this arrangement will need to remain in place. Advice from the Australian Government, that schools should remain open for children of essential workers but that families who can keep their children at home should, has not changed. It is important to note, though, that children attending school will be completing the same work that is set for the rest of their class, and not necessarily with their regular teacher, as teachers cannot be expected to work in face-to-face and remote environments simultaneously. To assist with operational planning, it is vital for us to have a clear understanding of each family’s intentions; a survey will be sent to all next week.
Many families have already found that the reality of remote-learning from home presents significant challenges, and I’m sure that, with the passing of time, some will ease but others will persist. Again, I will be seeking families’ feedback of their early experiences via a survey, in order that we can provide learning resources that best meet your needs. In light of the many conversations that teachers and I have had with parents recently about their worries concerning remote learning, here are a few common concerns and some points that, I hope, can help to reassure everyone:
We have limited/shared technology at my house and I don’t want my kids on the computer all day.
- Although remote learning will rely, to a large extent, on access to technology at some point in the day, that does not mean students will be doing all their work online. There will be plenty of work to do away from screens: drawing, writing, building, creating and playing.
- Teachers have no expectation that families will be able to print sheets and booklets; any such physical resources will be provided by the school.
- If availability of sufficient IT resources proves to be a problem for any family you can contact me at any time to discuss how the school can help.
I don’t have enough to keep my child busy all day, or, I don’t have the time to get through everything the teacher has sent.
- Materials provided so far are not prescriptive but largely a guide. Move things around to suit your personal timetable and don’t worry about dropping activities that aren’t working for you.
- Although your child is at school for the six hours between 9 and 3, they spend only a fraction of that time ‘working’.
- A child’s useful attention span, in minutes, is generally considered to be around twice their numerical age – and that’s when they’re alert and engaged. Don’t expect them to sit still and work for longer than that; they can’t.
I’m worried that my child will fall behind or miss important learning.
- Disruption to schooling is happening for everyone, everywhere. Not just in Australia but around the world.
- Every year in Australia hundreds, perhaps even thousands of students have three to six months away from school to do the big road trip, with not much more work to do other than regular reading, keeping a good journal and a bit of experiential maths. They manage just fine.
- While all learning is important and builds on what has come before, Primary School is not the HSC and there is nothing that your child might ‘miss’ in the course of this year that will prevent them from getting into their preferred university course or job.
Again, I am very conscious that parents are anxious to know what will be happening with school next term; please be assured that as soon as any new developments come to light they will be passed on immediately.
Virtual Easter Bonnet Parade
The Easter Bonnet Parade has always been a regular fixture on the Mt Carmel calendar and, in light of maintaining community and school spirit, we would love it to happen this year. We are asking all students to construct an Easter bonnet or hat, using whatever creative materials and means they have at their disposal at home, and send us a photo of themselves wearing it by Wednesday next week. Photos will be compiled into an animation and shared with our community through the website and social media. If you do not want your child’s photo published and shared on social media, please do not submit it. Photos can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
This Sunday is Palm Sunday, the start of Holy Week. Usually, we would hold a service for the Stations of the Cross at school but, of course, this year we cannot. Prayer resources and reflections for this important week in our liturgical calendar will be shared with all families next week. I encourage all families to make use of these resources and participate in these celebrations.
Happy Easter to everyone, and stay well. My prayers this Easter are with all of you.
May God’s peace be in your families,
GOSPEL: John 11:1-45
There was a man named Lazarus of Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister, Martha, and he was ill. It was the same Mary, the sister of the sick man Lazarus, who anointed the Lord with ointment and wiped his feet with her hair. The sisters sent this message to Jesus, 'Lord, the man you love is ill.' On receiving the message, Jesus said, 'This sickness will not end in death, but it is for God's glory so that through it the Son of God may be glorified.' Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus, yet when he heard that he was ill he stayed where he was for two more days before saying to the disciples, 'Let us go back to Judaea.' The disciples said, 'Rabbi, it is not long since the Jews were trying to stone you; are you going back there again?' Jesus replied: Are there not twelve hours in the day? No one who walks in the daytime stumbles, having the light of this world to see by; anyone who walks around at night stumbles, having no light as a guide. He said that and then added, 'Our friend Lazarus is at rest; I am going to wake him.' The disciples said to him, 'Lord, if he is at rest he will be saved.' Jesus was speaking of the death of Lazarus, but they thought that by 'rest' he meant 'sleep'; so Jesus put it plainly, 'Lazarus is dead; and for your sake I am glad I was not there because now you will believe. But let us go to him.' Then Thomas -- known as the Twin -- said to the other disciples, 'Let us also go to die with him.' On arriving, Jesus found that Lazarus had been in the tomb for four days already. Bethany is only about two miles from Jerusalem, and many Jews had come to Martha and Mary to comfort them about their brother. When Martha heard that Jesus was coming she went to meet him. Mary remained sitting in the house. Martha said to Jesus, 'Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died, but even now I know that God will grant whatever you ask of him.' Jesus said to her, 'Your brother will rise again.' Martha said, 'I know he will rise again at the resurrection on the last day.' Jesus said: I am the resurrection. Anyone who believes in me, even though that person dies, will live, and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this? 'Yes, Lord,' she said, 'I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, the one who was to come into this world.' When she had said this, she went and called her sister Mary, saying in a low voice, 'The Master is here and wants to see you.' Hearing this, Mary got up quickly and went to him. Jesus had not yet come into the village; he was still at the place where Martha had met him. When the Jews who were in the house comforting Mary saw her get up so quickly and go out, they followed her, thinking that she was going to the tomb to weep there. Mary went to Jesus, and as soon as she saw him she threw herself at his feet, saying, 'Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.' At the sight of her tears, and those of the Jews who had come with her, Jesus was greatly distressed, and with a profound sigh he said, 'Where have you put him?' They said, 'Lord, come and see.' Jesus wept; and the Jews said, 'See how much he loved him!' But there were some who remarked, 'He opened the eyes of the blind man. Could he not have prevented this man's death?' Sighing again, Jesus reached the tomb: it was a cave with a stone to close the opening. Jesus said, 'Take the stone away.' Martha, the dead man's sister, said to him, 'Lord, by now he will smell; this is the fourth day since he died.' Jesus replied, 'Have I not told you that if you believe you will see the glory of God?' So they took the stone away. Then Jesus lifted up his eyes and said: Father, I thank you for hearing my prayer. I myself knew that you hear me always, but I speak for the sake of all these who are standing around me, so that they may believe it was you who sent me. When he had said this, he cried in a loud voice, 'Lazarus, come out!' The dead man came out, his feet and hands bound with strips of material, and a cloth over his face. Jesus said to them, 'Unbind him, let him go free.' Many of the Jews who had come to visit Mary, and had seen what he did, believed in him.
Today’s Gospel reading focuses on the death of Lazarus, and its impact on his sisters, Martha and Mary, and also Jesus. Lazarus, Martha and Mary were a “second family” to Jesus. Jesus spent time with them, he laughed with them, he relaxed with them and he loved each of them. Thus, when Lazarus died, Martha, Mary and Jesus all were devastated.
Jesus was not present when Lazarus died. When he received word of Lazarus’ death, he went to the house. Martha went out to meet him while Mary stayed in the house. When Martha saw Jesus, she immediately reprimanded him. She bluntly told him that if he had been there, Lazarus would not have died. She continued by saying: “Even now, I know if you pray to God, God will give you what you ask for.” Naturally, she hoped that Jesus would ask God to bring Lazarus back to life!
Jesus simply replied to her request saying: “You know your brother will rise on the last day.” However, Martha wanted Jesus to bring Lazarus back to life now! She knew he had the power to do so. She had seen him work many miracles. She desperately was hoping for one more miracle!
Jesus then says: “I am the resurrection and the life; anyone who believes in me, even if they die, will live! And anyone who lives and believes in me will never die!” Then Jesus asks Martha: “Do you truly believe this?” Then Martha makes a simple, yet profound profession of faith. She says: “Yes, Lord! I have come to know and believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God!”
Have we made our profession of faith? Have we ever said to Jesus: “I have come to know and believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God.” Today may be a good opportunity to make our profession of faith once again! However, don’t let it be a hollow profession of faith. May it come from the depths of your heart! (Sr Kristine Anne Harpenau)
Holy Week is most definitely a very sacred time of the year, for it is now that we will commemorate and remember the last week of Jesus' life on this earth. These are the days leading up to the great Easter Feast. The Lenten season of sacrifice and self-denial is about to come to an end, but this coming week is extremely important for all Christians. The greatest focus of the week is the Passion (suffering) and Resurrection of Jesus Christ and the events that led up to it.
Historical documents tell us that as early as the fourth century the Church celebrated this "Great Week" with a feeling of profound sanctity. It begins with Palm Sunday, which marks Jesus' triumhant entry into Jerusalem. The central feature of the service proper to this day, as it was in the earliest times, is the procession of palms. The palms are blessed and are then borne in procession to the church, where an entry is made with a certain amount of ceremony, after which the Mass is celebrated. The other notable and very ancient feature of the present Palm Sunday service is the reading of the Gospel of the Passion by three readers.
Especially important for Catholics is the Easter Triduum. This is the three days just before Easter. On Holy Thursday, we reenact the Lord's Last Supper, which He shared with His apostles on the night He was betrayed and arrested. This is one of the most beautiful liturgies of the entire liturgical year. At the Mass, the priest will wash the feet of twelve men, just as Jesus did. Also on this night, priests all over the world will renew their sacred vows. This is because, at the Last Supper, Jesus not only instituted the Mass (Eucharist) bt also the ministerial priesthood.
On Good Friday, the day of the crucifixion and death of our Lord, we have the veneration of the Cross. A service is held at three o'clock in the afternoon (the hour He is believed to have died) and another later in the evening. We go forward and kiss the Cross in order to show honor and respect for Christ's sacrifice for our sake. There is no consecration of the Eucharist on this day, and the Communion we receive will be from the night before, which has been reserved in the tabernacle.
Holy Saturday is a vigil. We keep watch for the expectant rising of Our Savior. This was the day He went down into the netherworld in order to bring back up with Him into heaven those who had died before His coming. Up to this time, the gates to heaven were closed and no one could go there because of the original sin of Adam. Jesus changed all that. By paying the price for our sins on the Cross, He gained for us our eternal salvation, and heaven was openedonce more. Also on this night, persons who have spent months of preparation will be received through Baptism and Confirmation into the Catholic Church for the first time. It is a joyous occasion.
Those who engage themselves wholeheartedly in living the entire paschal cycle (Lent, Triduum and Easter's Fifty Days) discover that it can change them forever. This is especially so of the Triduum which, standing at the heart of the Easter season, is an intense immersion in the fundamental mystery of what it is to be Christian. During these days, we suffer with Christ so that we might rise with Him at His glorious Resurrection. Holy Week is a time to clear our schedules of unnecessary activities. Our minds and hearts should be fixed on Jesus and what He did for us. Let us bear the Cross so that may be worthy of wearing the crown He wore. (https://www.catholiceducation.org/en/culture/catholic-contributions/the-meaning-of-holy-week.html)
HOLY WEEK RESOURCES
As we prepare to celebrate Holy Week in a world of social distancing, there are many resources that we can use to help us develop a greater understanding of the week and engage as families in prayer and reflection. Here are some links that are suitable for families and children.
UNDERSTANDING FAITH: Most students will have been using this site through their learning this week. It is a wonderful resource which can also be accessed by families at home.
Resource URL: https://primary.understandingfaith.edu.au/log-in
User Name: ceo.cg.yass
HOLY WEEK: Information and activities for Palm Sunday, Holy Thursday, Good Friday, and Holy Saturday.
Resource URL: https://www.loyolapress.com/our-catholic-faith/liturgical-year/holy-week
HOLY WEEK PRAYER SERVICES: A selection of prayer activities that you can undertake throughout Holy Week as a family.
Resource URL: https://www.thereligionteacher.com/holy-week-prayer-services/
HOLY WEEK FOR YOUNGER CHILDREN: A 30 minute video depicting Holy Week delivered to younger students.
Resource URL: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0PSgoPdKQFQ
PSALMS OF MORNING PRAYER FOR HOLY THURSDAY: A video prayer
Resource URL: https://youtu.be/RzYkkftP18k
STATIONS OF THE CROSS: This time-lapse depicts the final twenty-four hours before Jesus' death on the cross and His resurrection through modern eyes.
Resource URL: https://youtu.be/te8xQNMJzfQ
STATIONS OF THE CROSS: Another depiction of the stations
Resource URL: https://youtu.be/Q782qOZ_n3g
STATIONS OF THE CROSS FOR CHILDREN: A print friendly version for children
Resource URL: https://www.loyolapress.com/our-catholic-faith/liturgical-year/lent/stations-of-the-cross/multimedia-stations-of-the-cross-for-children
EASTER AND MASS SERVICES
The Archdiocese of Canberra and Goulburn will continue to broadcast mass each day so that we can listen in and participate in the celebration.
Resource URL: https://www.catholicvoice.org.au/mass-online/
Around the world, people are coming together to make the world a better place. Whether it's ensuring everyone has access to clean, safe water supplies or a sustainable income source or adequate health care for their families, we’re going to give our all too.
Project Compassion will be collecting funds to help support those in need until Easter. If you wish to donate, please use the following link: https://lent.caritas.org.au/mtcarmelschoolyass#blank
Thanks to all families who have been in a position to contribute this year.
PRAYERS FOR A SAFE AND HAPPY BREAK
As this is the final newsletter for Term 1, I would like to thank everyone for their ongoing love and support that you not only offer you children each day, but extend to our school community.
We have experienced the start of a year like never before experienced and we must remember that even in these trying times, God loves us and will always be there for us. It is therefore more important than ever to keep our communication line with Him open and not only seek His help and support, but praise him for the wonderful things that are happening in our lives each day.
As you enjoy the next three weeks with your children, I pray that you all have a safe and blessed holiday and may the magic of the Holy Season be the true light that shines through to the world this Easter.
Religious Education Coordinator
All the passwords and usernames have been distributed, either electronically or with a hard copy. Please email if you haven't received your child's login detail or you would still like to join your child up to this year's challenge.