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A Focus on ‘Justice and Solidarity’

News from the Director of Mission, Phillip Davis

Brennan House Mass

College Chaplain Fr Milani celebrated the Brennan House Mass on 7 March, 2016.

The focus of our House Masses this year is the EREA Touchstone Justice and Solidarity (“We are committed to justice and peace for all, grounded in a spirituality of action and reflection that calls us to stand in solidarity with those who are marginalised and the Earth itself.” From the Charter for Catholic Schools in the Edmund Rice Tradition). The Year 7 students from Brennan House did a fantastic job in dramatising the Gospel passage regarding the Judgement of the Nations (Matthew 25: 31-50) while House Captain Adam Hassan gave an insightful reflection based on the connection between Justice and Solidarity and Waverley College. This reflection follows…

According to the words of the Gospel, The Judgement of the Nations, it is clear that we are all called to act with justice and solidarity. The Gospel reading highlights the importance of serving others. “I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me”. The Gospel reading also highlights that serving one of God’s children is like serving God.

This Gospel message directly correlates with our Waverley touchstone of Justice and Solidarity and the EREA touchstone that Brennan will be focusing on this year. We are all beckoned to commit to justice and peace, grounded in a spirituality of action and reflection. This calls us to stand in solidarity with those who are marginalised and the Earth itself.

Just as Pope Francis said “You are called to take care of creation ,not only as responsible citizens but as followers of Christ”. It is our duty as followers of Christ and the Waverley College community to take care of God’s creation, which is all of us.

You might wonder how you, as young Waverlians from Brennan House can put into action these words from the Gospel and our Touchstone. May I remind you all of the inspiring words we heard at this year’s Immersion Assembly. Stories from both past and present Waverley boys, going to places like India and Timor Leste, helping young kids suffering from extreme poverty and helping to provide environments to enhance their education. Even the social justice services offered to Year 11 students throughout the year, and the option for Brennan students to organise the Holdsworth Ball. These are the experiences constantly on offer to the Waverley College cohort, providing all students with the tools and guidance in order to practice a lifestyle that reflects justice and solidarity.

Whilst participating in the multitude of immersion experiences or social justice services Waverley has to offer may not be everyone’s cup of tea, you can still embody the words of the Gospel in your every day lives. Just as Mr Leddie had prompted us to consider the theory of the “bucket and the tipper”, our everyday interactions with our friends and family, can make a difference. Whether it is saying a few encouraging words to a friend when they need a hand, stopping your friends from bullying that kid out in the playground, bringing a positive and polite attitude towards your teachers and classmates every time you step into a class or just helping out your parents when they have a busy work load.

 It is essential that we first address the unjust situations that we are faced with everyday and the ones that we can control with very little effort. We must, as a Brennan cohort, fight against this injustice. Starting with every boy in home group throughout this Lenten season, donating to the Lenten appeal. This is supporting an organisation that with just $300 dollars can send a child to school and break the cycle of poverty that they have experienced for generations. A small donation of $20 from each boy will be enough to send eleven kids to school for a whole year.  

It is these small gestures, which are perhaps the most influential in creating a just society and one, which stands in solidarity with those who are marginalised and the Earth itself. These are the acts, which will make us the sheep at Jesus’ right hand rather than the goats at his left.

Adam Hassan, Brennan House Captain.

CLRI (NSW) Social Justice Day for Students

On Wednesday 9 March, 2016, Ms Stewart and myself accompanied ten Year 10 students to Monte Sant’ Angelo Mercy College, North Sydney, for the CLRI (NSW) Social Justice Day on Human Trafficking, Child Labour and Fair Trade. Presentations and Workshops from organisations such as ACRATH (Australian Catholic Religious Against Trafficking in Humans) explained how trafficking exists in a range of ways and especially how it affects children around the world. Fair Trade organisations such as The Trading Circle and rrepp explained how our shopping habit and choices can either continue or prevent the use of child labour. I would like to thank the Year 10 students who attended the seminar: Daniel Andrews, Daniel Hassan, Patrick Kossenberg, Luca Martin, Adam McCabe, James Nikolitsis, Harvey Papastamos, Jonathon Schacht, Luki Vujovic and Jasper Wilde. I would also like to thank Ms Cullen, Mr Evans and Ms Stewart for their help in the organising of the students. Below is a recount of the day by some of the students who participated:

A group of Year 10 boys travelled to Monte Sant’ Angelo Mercy College on the North Shore accompanied by Mr Davis and Ms Stewart. The day focused on fair trade, human trafficking and child labour through a variety of workshops, guest speakers and activities. An example of the one of the workshops focused on helping woman out of poverty. This was achieved through programs where they made bracelets that could be sold. Then we had a chance to make one of the bracelets they made to see how quickly we could make them. No one in the group finished the bracelets in the 45 minutes.

Another workshop we participated in consisted of sports equipment company RREPP. RREPP is one of the only sports companies in the world that makes all their equipment to Fair Trade standards.

As the day ended each school was asked how they were going to incorporate what they had learnt into their own school community. We all decided to discuss the potential to change our sporting equipment to the RREPP equipment, and to sell more Fair Trade products in the canteen.

The day was worthwhile and everyone enjoyed themselves whilst meeting new people. Most of us did not realise the situation of human trafficking throughout the world.

By Year 10 Students: Jonathon Schacht, Daniel Hassan, Harvey Papastamos and Daniel Andrews.