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Principal – 23 August 2018


In a recent newsletter, I asked that all families do their utmost to place value on attendance at the celebrations for St Francis Xavier Day which we marked with mass and festivities last week.

I was so pleased and impressed to see how many students were there, in good spirits and active voice.

On any normal school day, we can have between 8-10% of students absent.

Officer and Berwick Campuses had fewer than 8% of students absent on the day which is a testament to their commitment to the College and their campus communities. We can’t expect that no students will be unwell on any given day but to do better than normal is outstanding.

Of particular note is McKenna House from Officer Campus who had all bar one student in attendance.

At Beaconsfield Campus there were 19% of students absent but this was complicated by some attending TAFE/VET. Still, it was a better figure than previous years.

I would like to thank all parents and caregivers who responded positively to my earlier communication regarding the importance of attendance on St Francis Xavier Day. Your support was clearly a very significant factor in the success of the day.

We are stronger as a community when we work together like this.

Below is the text of my address prior to the mass:


St Francis Xavier Day Address

Good morning and happy community day. The one day of the year when we all gather; Berwick, Officer and Beaconsfield. One school. One community. One mass.

In prayer we often say AMEN. It means YES or I AGREE or ME TOO.

Today is a day of many YESES.

In the hymn we often sing and sing well:

and all the people said AMEN… whoa! (Cantabile demonstrate)



Mary. The mother of Jesus. Today is a very special day in her honour. It is called the feast of the Assumption. The day Mary was welcomed into Heaven. This is the day when her original YES to God, the day the angel said, Hail Mary full of grace the lord is with thee, which led to her then becoming the mother of Jesus, this is the day that she was rewarded with the happiness of heaven.

And Mary, Mary said AMEN… whoa!



Jesus. After the last supper he went to the Garden of Gethsemane to pray for the courage to do what was needed. You know the story of the Passion. The story of his trial, death and rising again. In that garden, despite his fears, he said YES.

And Jesus, Jesus said AMEN… whoa!



St Francis Xavier. Having said YES to being a Jesuit priest in 1534 on this date, 15 years later he said YES to the challenge of traveling to a new and unknown place to continue his mission of love and service. On this date he landed in Japan to bring the good news of Jesus to the people there.

And Francis, Francis said AMEN… whoa!



Our Founders – Terry Synan, Bishop Fox, Monsignor Gallagher and Des McKenna. From 1974 to 1979, when the College first opened, they all said YES to working tirelessly that there might be a Catholic high school for the young people of this area. Hours upon hours of hope-filled work until it was completed. They said YES to the huge challenge of building something from nothing. And here we are. The peoples of that endeavour, that school.


And we are all here today. We have said YES to valuing the one and only opportunity we have each year to be one community in one place. We have said YES, just as Mary, Jesus, Francis Xavier and the Founders said YES. Students, celebrants, staff and friends.

And this is a YES that matters. This YES to be here today. Together. Remember this; being together honors the past, strengthens the present and builds the future.

And all we here said AMEN… whoa.

Happy St Francis Xavier College Day

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