St Patrick’s Primary School - Bega
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Gipps Street
Bega NSW 2550

Phone: 02 6492 5500

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Dear Parents and Carers,

I write this from Adelaide where I am connecting with Principals from around Australia at the national APPA (Australian Primary Principal Association) Conference. It would be true to say that whilst the professional learning and engagement here is very good, I am indeed missing St Pat’s and my daily connections with our students and teachers and the joys of learning that I get to share in on a daily basis!

Last Friday I was at the Key Personnel Day in Canberra – a day for Parish Priests, Principals and Religious Education Coordinators in our diocese. The purpose of the gathering each year is to meet and listen to each other, to hear from Archbishop Christopher Prowse, and to discuss many issues related to our identity as Catholic schools and about Religious Education in our schools. We also spent time looking at the sacramental programs in the Archdiocese.

I would like to share this week something that comes from a speaker at last week’s meeting in Canberra and has resonated in some themes on principal, staff and student wellbeing, learning and growth from the key note speakers at this APPA conference. It is about Justice and Mercy. And, specifically the justice and mercy people seek depending on their part in any interaction that hasn’t gone well. I wonder if we each, as adults, can name a recent time when we sought justice for ourselves, or indeed mercy. I wonder if we can recall the last time we sought justice or mercy for our child.

Consider this: Another child hurts your child with words or actions. What do you seek for the child that caused the hurt to your child? Justice or Mercy.

Now consider this: Your child hurts someone else with their words or actions. What do you seek for your child who caused the hurt to another? Justice or Mercy.

It is interesting to ponder. I think it would be true for most of us as parents that the answer to these questions may be different.

It struck me deeply as at primary school our focus is young children – we meet the children when they are 5 years old and journey with them until they are 12 years old. Our focus is on our students, your children. As children they are continuing to learn about themselves, learn about belonging to (a class and school) Community, learning to grow through making mistakes and making wiser choices with their words and actions into the future. As parents and teachers we coach, guide, counsel, support, teach, reteach and continue to have high expectations that through childhood our children learn how to productively, actively and supportively participate in Community. I would like to offer my thanks to all of our parents and carers for all you do each day to support the growth and development of your child and for working in partnership with us at school, and recognise the place of justice and mercy in the journey.

The Holy Father (Pope Francis) explains that justice and mercy "are not two contradictory realities, but two dimensions of a single reality that unfolds progressively until it culminates in the fullness of love”. The Catholic Care Report.

I look forward to being back at St Pat’s for (most of) next week!