During a recent class discussion I asked the students if they had watched a recent current affairs show that was covering a topic relevant to the subject. The response from the students was enlightening. One noted, as did a few others, that they never watch television. I then asked if she or anyone ever watched the news and most said never. I found this pretty stunning. They then explained that if they read any news it would be via Facebook or something that was sent through another social medium. I then asked if they thought the source would be accurate and factual. There was a long silence and a look of confusion.
In Holy Week and through Lent we are asked to reflect and contemplate our lives and consider others. I wonder how we support the model of Jesus Christ when it barely warrants a mention in any medium that the students circulate in. The predominating issue, at the moment, is the Australian Cricket Team and all the hype that creates; or Donald Trump’s alleged past misdemeanours. Little is mentioned of the ‘unpopular’ issue.
In the past week Coolock and St Mary’s students have been holding events to help support Caritas. Caritas is a not-for-profit Catholic agency that sponsors people in countries all over the world. The United Nations Human Rights Commission has recently circulated figures showing that there has never been a greater need for the missions and for charity.
Never have there been so many refugees or displaced people across the world. Literally thousands of women and children each day become disconnected due to war and various forms of abuse. Why don’t we know about it? How do we make this a popular topic? How do we get this information circulated through the right mediums? An interesting reflection I heard on the media this week was that the money dedicated to airtime for the cricket and Trump news, mentioned earlier, would have made a significant contribution to those in poverty.
Those who reflect on Catherine McAuley and her legacy note that she was the one who noticed the children and the poor of Dublin in “garret and gutter”. When we look to our the people who inspired our houses, Mary MacKillop, Marcellin Champagnat, St Vincent, all showed compassion for those who were ostracized in their time. They did not seek popularity, rather justice.
During Holy Week, I encourage you to spare a thought for what Easter is all about and share this with someone.
I wish everyone a safe break through the holidays and thank all of the staff, students and members of our local and wider community that have made the transition to Catherine McAuley College such a smooth process. To our senior students, please remember to keep working and studying to keep the momentum going after such a good start.
Have a great break and remember that the students are to return on Tuesday 17 April.
Brian Turner, Principal