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Berwick Campus – 9 August 2018

Student arrival to School

In the interests of student safety, no students are to leave the campus grounds after being dropped off at school in the mornings.

To do so is a serious breach of the school rules that carries behavioural sanctions.

This includes when arriving by bus and/or if dropped off near to the campus where parents are of the belief that their children will be heading directly to school.

Conversations regarding this topic are encouraged between parents and their children.


SIS Theatre Sports Championships

On the 24 July the Berwick, Officer and Beaconsfield campuses competed in the SIS Theatre Sports Championship. There were multiple rounds where you competed against teams from other schools and were judged on story line, entertainment and performance and given a score out of five. The SIS Theatre Sports enables you to gain more confidence in yourself when performing in front of crowds. It was such a great opportunity to be able to compete and all three campuses performed with so much effort. In the end, the Berwick junior campus came first – congratulations to the Oat Milkers! It was such a fun and memorable experience that we all hope we can compete again.

Elisha Lane, Year 7


Students were enthusiastic and wonderful participants, supported by amazing, hard-working staff. A big thank you Nazareth College for hosting the event.

Congratulations to all students who took part. It was wonderful to see all taking risks and developing confidence and performance in the process.

A big congratulation to our Berwick winning team, Oak Milkers – 1st Place.


HOL Scout Park – Service Maintenance

Congratulations to the Hands on Learning team for the wonderful work they have recently completed at the local Scout Park in Pakenham. Detailed works included; Modifications to the SFX bike track to smooth bumps out, recycled the post and chains from the campus grounds at St Francis Xavier around the Chalet at the Scout Park, built two new garden boxes, fixed the flag pole and completed garden edging.


Zoo comes to you

Year 7 Science classes enjoyed an exciting visit from the ‘Zoo comes to You’ team last week. This interactive session involved discussion, observation and hands-on experience at its finest whereby students were given the opportunity to witness many animals up close and personal to add to their learning experience. 

Animals that made the visit to our school for the day included: Various species of lizards and marsupials, snakes, frogs, a turtle, an owl, and a baby crocodile!


Religious Education Department News

St Francis Xavier Day:

Why do we have St Francis Xavier Day on August 15th? There are a number of reasons why we celebrate St Francis Xavier’s life on the Feast of the Assumption.

Key dates in Francis’ life:

Born April 7, 1506

August 15, 1534 – Though at first hesitant, Xavier was eventually inspired by his friend’s example. On this date in the Montmartre section of Paris, Xavier, Loyola and five others pledged themselves to the Society of Jesus (the Jesuits). In addition to vows of celibacy and poverty, they also promised to visit the Holy Land.

June 24, 1537 – Ordained

May 6, 1542 – Arrived in Goa

August 15, 1549  – Xavier landed at Kagoshima, Japan. As he had at his other missions, Xavier adapted to local mores and arranged for the translation of religious texts. These steps helped him reach more converts in the year and a half he spent in Japan.

Died December 3, 1552 – Feast Day

Canonised on March 12, 1622

Tucked in a corner of the party capital of India, the mostly-incorruptible body of Goencho Saib (Lord of Goa), otherwise known as St Francis Xavier, is on display in the right transept of the Bom Jesus church in the old Portuguese centre of town of Goa. The body was originally transported back to Goa in a lime-slake, from which his body miraculously emerged unchanged. He was placed on view in a raised reliquary, with annual festivals, where, up until recently, pilgrims had the opportunity to kiss the exposed, miraculously mummified feet of the saint.

On Sundays and other holy days of obligation, the faithful are to refrain from engaging in work or activities that hinder the worship owed to God.

Catechism of the Catholic Church 2185

In Australia, the Catholic faithful should observe as holy days of obligation:

  • Christmas Day (December 25 – the Feast of the Nativity of Our Lord Jesus Christ)
  • The Assumption (August 15 – the Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary)
  • All Sundays of the year

The Feast of the Assumption is one of the oldest holy days in the Church, with accounts of celebrations going back to the sixth century. Christians in the East, both Catholic and Orthodox refer to it as the Feast of the Dormition of the Theotokos, or “the falling asleep of the Mother of God.” The earliest printed reference to the belief that Mary’s body was assumed into Heaven dates from the fourth century, in a document entitled “The Falling Asleep of the Holy Mother of God.”

Celebrating St Francis Xavier Day on August 15 joins our community with our saint. It also aligns us to Mary, who is the first and best disciple, and with St Francis Xavier, is a wonderful role model for us.

My mother has shared with me a beautiful story about the relationship between her mother, Eileen Shanahan and the local Gunaikurnai people of East Gippsland. Nana’s husband Patrick, with his brothers, were earth movers and helped build the roads throughout Gippsland. In their work they developed a close connection with the Gunaikurnai people. Nana’s house, on the road out of Bairnsdale became a place where Nana and Popsa (as Patrick was known) would always welcome any indigenous person who knocked on their door and asked for a meal. With Patrick often away due to his work throughout Gippsland, Nana was often home with their ten children, working the dairy farm, and would always welcome any one who walked into the house and asked for food. Mum recalled Nana often sharing whatever was left on her own plate. As a result, the Gunaikurnai people placed a red dash on the fence outside Nana’s house, identifying to any others passing by, that they were welcome to come into this house and ask for a meal. Nana was a first-generation German matriarch, strong willed, committed to family in every way, and extended this welcome to the Gunaikurnia people.

Upon reflection, perhaps Nana is an example of the person who offered a place for Mary and Joseph on the eve of Christmas. They went to a place where they knew they would be welcome. Mary then shared these symbolic ‘red marks’ wherever she went, showing all where and how to find the hospitality of God. Through hearing and acting on God’s promise, through trusting her son, through her presence at the cross, and finally through her entry to heaven, Mary’s life brings hope to ours.

Furthermore, at a recent Leader’s camp at Rawson, Year 11 student Simranjit Singh introduced our school to other Sale Diocese schools in a wonderful way: “We are a really diverse school with people from lots of places. What makes us special is that we love everyone. Everyone is welcome at our school.”

Teacher Ben Gaze also described a scene to me at lunchtime – “Where else would you find Syrian, Philippino, South Sudanese, Chinese, Samoan,… playing basketball together”

We are an extraordinary community. This is what we come together for and celebrate on August 15. We are united, we are a light for the world because we live in peace. I wonder what St Francis Xavier would say if he walked in to our Mass. On the exact day he, along with his friends, founded the Jesuits; on the exact day he sailed into Japan, and on the day we celebrate the Feast of the Assumption of Mary, we stand as one and share our identity as a truly international, welcoming and vibrant community.

And hopefully those who pass us by will see the red marks on our fences.

Let us pray this week that we look to St Mary of the Cross (whose feast day was celebrated with Mass at Officer and Berwick on August 8) for inspiration to never let a chance to do good go by.

Kevin Woodhouse, Director of Catholic Identity


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