Welcome to the 2024 school year. As I write this first newsletter I am reminded of this time last year! How far we have come as a school and as a community is something we should all be very proud of.
The year has begun in the most calm and smooth way. Our new preps, all 62 of them have transitioned into school and are definitely ready to learn. We thank all of our families for supporting our ‘kiss & drop’ at the gate system. We know from many, many years of experience that a quick and calm goodbye helps to settle everyone and reduces anxiety. The children gathering on the yard in the mornings is a great way to foster and develop friendships and socialization. They hesitate to do this when parents are in the yard. We understand this can be a challenge for parents, but the feedback I have received about how happy and calm our learners are is what truly matters. It’s been wonderful to see our families arriving before 8:45am and being prompt at pick up Mon/Tues 3:00pm and Wed-Fri 3:15 pm
As you have done so far these past days, please continue to trust us. You have chosen MQH because there was something about our place of learning that attracted you. Our staff are experienced, dedicated educators who have the best interests of your children at heart, please trust us, communicate with us openly and respect the wonderful work that our educators are doing to support your children.
From time to time there will be issues. If this arises for you, firstly, please encourage your child to approach their educator about it. If not, please contact your child’s teacher by email and wait for their response. Our staff will do their best to get back to you within 24- 48 hours. With classes that run all day and meetings three afternoons per week, the response time is a 24- 48 hour window.
At MQH all of our children are equal but not the same. Some require support in Maths, some with reading, some with behaviour and some with managing their emotions. Support looks different for different children and families. Please be aware of this and trust that the school is supporting all at their point of need.
During the break we welcomed a new Assistant priest to support Father Dishan in the Parish. We welcome Father Samuel and look forward to our community meeting him.
A letter from Father Samuel
On December 4, 2021, I was ordained a priest of Jesus Christ! I can scarcely believe it was over two years ago now! I recall returning to the sacristy after the Ordination Mass and received a large white envelope which contained my ‘letter of appointment’. I nervously, yet eagerly, opened it to discover that I would begin the New Year in a new parish in Scoresby and Rowville! My initial response was;
“Where?!” I’d never heard of them! In time I came to relish Melbourne’s outer eastern suburbs, especially the fact that the parishes are nestled among those leafy, tree-lined avenues, with such beautiful views of the Dandenong’s!
However, the quotidian ebb and flow of suburban parish life there, was a long way from the quiet, north-western suburb of Glenroy where I grew up. A shy feeling of being far from home never quite left me, even though my family has since moved on and settled elsewhere.
I was reminded of this feeling and other such ordination memories when, just before Christmas last year, I received an email informing me that I was to come to Good Shepherd Parish…in Gladstone Park! (or ‘Gladdy Park’, as I remember it!) I couldn’t believe it! I felt so excited to be coming just up the road from the suburban architecture of my childhood; Mass at Corpus Chirsti, School at Penola, shopping at
‘Broady’ and so on! All the places where the ‘real people’ live! LOL! (Well…at least we thought of ourselves as pretty ‘real’)!
I come from a pretty ordinary Catholic family; Mass on Sundays, family rosaries and grace before every meal are the norm! My dad is not Catholic (though has always supported us), but mum is and it’s really her faith that has sustained my own and those of my younger sister and two brothers. I never really thought of priesthood when I was younger, I actually wanted to be a journalist and travel the world, meeting the famous and infamous! Some years ago, during my undergrad and master’s studies in humanities at Melbourne Uni, I questioned my faith and doubted God’s existence at times, in the face of a militantly godless campus culture.
But through God’s ‘amazing grace’, here I am! A priest! All I can say is that, slowly and gently over time, God led me on an interior journey, so that, as G.K Chesterton said, my religion became ‘less a theory and more of a love affair. I began to realise that being Catholic is not merely passively believing a disjointed multitude of doctrines’, as Pope Francis once said, but is a personal connection with our Lord, in communion with others.
In the context of this relationship of faith, I became aware that Christ was ‘whispering’ in my heart, as he has done before to many others:
‘Come, follow me!’ ‘Do not be afraid’. There grew over time, a clear sense that this was not some idea of my own. Christ is calling me to be another worker in his vineyard, to cultivate the faith and to call others into relationship with him, as he himself has done and continues to do with me…of all people!
I’m looking forward to coming up to Gladdy Park and getting to know all of you and the particular and varied ways we are each incarnations of God’s grace to each other.
God bless….and see ya soon!