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Pastoral Care and Wellbeing

YEARS 7-9 WELLBEING CHARACTER STRENGTH FOCUS

Week 7: GRATITUDE

If it’s true that Kindness does help protect us against choices that can hurt or offend, then we also know that Gratitude helps us to build stronger relationships with other people- to know, value and care for them, which of course makes us happier. Science tells us that when we are Grateful, we become more willing to help others and to overcome hurt, which helps us all get along better, and it enhances our physical and emotional wellbeing too!

When people are Grateful to us it helps us to feel valued; and we all like to feel valued- it’s one of the principles on which social media ‘likes’ are founded, that makes them so compelling. Being validated and appreciated is important to us as people as it helps affirm our purpose. In truth, I believe that most of us are quite Grateful, but we can sometimes overlook thanking those who have had the biggest impact on our lives. Research tells us that thanking those we are most Grateful to and explaining what we are Grateful for, is one of the best ways to ‘grow’ happiness- theirs and ours.

Unfortunately, at times when things don’t go our way, it can be easy for us to fall into the pitfall of focusing on the negative. This can consume us and be very damaging to our wellbeing. Our inbuilt ‘negativity bias’ takes care of this to some degree. But it’s harder for us to fall into this trap when we train our brains look at life through the lens of Gratitude. Give it a try! Try at least three positives to one negative! Five is even better!

Last week in Chapel with the Year 8’s, Mr Flaherty publicly thanked Ms Kearney for her kindness, as her class led the year level in Chapel. In Chapel this week, each year level will reflect on Gratitude. Amongst the staff, at our Pastoral Planning Day this week, with Year Level Directors present and Deputy Principal and Director of Pastoral Administration in the lead, the focus with which we began was Gratitude. What a great place to start!

This week, as we catapult towards the Christmas season and the end of the year, classes are encouraged to really stop and think about what and who they are Grateful for, and to take action to personally thank that person for making a difference to their life. When I visited classes it was encouraging to hear of the many elements of their lives that students seemed genuinely grateful for- from their homes, and families, to clean drinking water and the many opportunities their education offers them. As they take this time to explore their blessings more, who knows what magic will unfold? Maybe some of that magic will be directed at helping those less fortunate in the Vinnies and Moore St Appeals, that we are very generous in supporting at this critical time of year.

They say it takes 21 days to change a habit for the better. Enlighten Education, a wonderful organization which works with our students in Year 7-9, offers a challenge to enhance our Gratitude at this link:

Week 8: HOPE

It’s fitting that we should end the year with Hope, as we began it. In our first weeks of school this year students in Year 7 created a wall of their hopes in Turon Courtyard. In this week, the last school week of the year, we saw first-hand, so many hopes in new Year 7’s for 2023, as they entered the College grounds for their Orientation Day.

At St Michael’s this year, students have actively cultivated the strength of Hope in Pastoral Care, complementing the goal setting they have all worked with over the year, inspired by their teachers and their peers. In past days students have also been directing their Gratitude and Hope into the support they are providing for Vinnie’s and Moore St. This is character strengths underpinning the College Vision and Mission in action.

This important opportunity to make such a big difference during the Christmas Season coincides with the beginning of Advent, where we enter into the season of Hope as we await for the celebration of Jesus’ birth.

As the year comes to an end, let’s view the new opportunities to care for each other with Hope in our minds and hearts, and answer the call with generosity of spirit and optimism.

The end of the school year also offers us the opportunity to find the time to celebrate all that has been; the many opportunities to learn and grow, and to show Gratitude to all those who have helped along that journey.

St John Baptist de La Salle, PRAY FOR US.

Live Jesus in our Hearts, FOREVER

Wishing you and yours a safe and happy Christmas and a fulfilling 2022.

Tonia Carfora, Year 7-9 Wellbeing Initiatives Leader

Missionaries of Sacred Heart

Missionaries of the Sacred Heart (MSC) Fathers held Thank You Masses on December 3 and 4. The St Michael’s community also gives thanks for the contribution the MSC priests have made to our College.

Since the establishment of the College in 1954, when the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart (MSC) priests and De La Salle Brothers responded to a request from the Archbishop to establish a Catholic college in the expanding western suburbs, there has been a close connection between the two groups, starting at Beverley and expanding to Henley when the senior school was established.

The MSC priests have supported the liturgical life of the Primary and Secondary campuses and the Brother’s community. They had presbyteries at Hindmarsh (until 2019) and Henley Beach and worked with families and students in our school in both parishes, supporting the sacramental program in the primary school, and in recent years, the opportunity for our secondary students who have not completed the Catholic sacraments to do so in conjunction with Sr Nithya and the Henley Parish.

Year level masses at the secondary campus and class masses at the Primary campus have been an important part of the liturgical life of our school. Welcome Masses for the different campuses, whole school Founders Day Masses, Year 12 Graduation Mass and weekly staff masses are all part of the contribution the MSC’s have made to St Michael’s College. In recent years the College community music department has joined with the Henley community to support the Sunday night mass under the banner of “Henley Alive”.

The wisdom, guidance, breaking apart the scripture in an accessible way by the many priests that have served in the parish has enriched the St Michael’s College community. Both the MSC’s and St Michael’s College have a charism focused on the heart. Being caring, kind and inclusive to others has ensured our strong commitment to the Gospel messages preached in our community that we are challenged to uphold and foster.

The College thanks the priests and parishes for their support and wish the priests well for the future. They should be proud of the legacy they have left behind in their contribution to inspiring the minds and hearts of the members of the St Michael’s College community.

Live Jesus in our hearts. Forever!

Mr Robert Dempsey, Director of Mission

Time to linger

Based on an article in the Australian Catholic from Brendan Nicholl 30 November 2018

Take the time to pause for a moment and consider how you might best approach the coming joyous season.

Catholic advent wreath

With the arrival of Advent it is timely to consider the coming of the Messiah.

Life is framed by waiting. We spend much of our life in expectation of what might come next. At St Michael’s College we excitedly await the end of the academic year and holidays. When we focus intently on what is to come we can fail to fully experience what is present and real.

REMEMBER TO BE PRESENT

As we move through Advent we experience increasing tension in our days as we consider all that ‘has to be done’ before Christmas. Each task we complete offers a sense of relief. Tasks can seem to become an ongoing series of challenges that have no end. Either way we focus on the goal and not the present.

As we are in the midst of Advent we contemplate the words of the prophet Isaiah: Therefore, the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel (Isaiah 7:14). The birth of Jesus is the sign we await each year. During Advent we prepare for the birth of our Immanuel. We ready ourselves to experience the coming of Jesus. The challenge is to not let the present slip by. Waiting often causes us to fail to notice what is truly real; the ‘now’.

FAITHFUL RESPONSE

Advent begins with the Annunciation (Luke 1:26-38) which is the first action in fulfilling Isiah’s prophecy. The Gospel tells of how the angel Gabrielle was sent to reveal to Mary God’s plan. Her faithful response brings about her pregnancy. Pregnancy for all women is marked by excitement of what is to come and fear of what may go wrong. For nine months Mary waited for the safe arrival of Jesus. Her pregnancy was miraculous, and the safe birth Divinely assured. But I wonder how she waited for the coming of her child.

LESSONS FROM MARY’S ATTITUDE

What we can read about this time tells us that she was patient and faithful. She allowed God to work through and with her to create a child. We can learn a lot about how we can truly enjoy the coming Season by considering Mary’s response to the pregnancy. When we enter into a single month of waiting we often focus on Christmas Day and tick off all the tasks and events that lead up to that day. When Mary entered into nine months of waiting she seems to have had a more holistic approach to both the goal and the present moment.

Advent is about so much more than Christmas Day and the birth of Jesus. Advent is about experiencing the joy of waiting. Each year we wait again for the coming of Jesus and much of the joy is found in the anticipation.

Advent can inspire us to enter into this interesting viewpoint. We can become more whole by entering into the moment as we joyfully await what is to come. Such a challenging task requires some preparation. We need to contemplate what we might do and how we might achieve this approach.

As we prepare for Christmas, pause for a moment and consider how you might best approach the coming joyous season. What are you waiting for and how best might you enter into and draw profit from the experience of waiting? How will you ‘wait’ over the next weeks? What do you hope to gain from the season of Advent? Can lingering in the present offer you the gift of Christmas Day right now? In being attentive to the ‘now’ how might beauty be revealed in new and extraordinary ways?

Thank you to all the families, students and staff who have supported the Christmas drives at St Michael’s College when thinking about the less fortunate in our community: Year 8 and 9 Vinnies Christmas drive for the Henley Parish, Year 9 Adelaide Day Centre Christmas Drive, and Year10 Australian Refugee Association donation. During the year the College community has supported many organisations, including Caritas Australia, Hutt Street Centre, Lasallian Missions, Cancer Council, Ovarian Cancer and many other organisations.

May the blessings of the Christmas season be with you and the holidays bring you time to enjoy the company of important people in your life.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from the St Michael’s College community.

Mr Robert Dempsey, Director of Mission