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Welcome to St James' Primary School - Muswellbrook

St James' Primary School, Muswellbrook is a Catholic school where learning comes first. Catering for students from Kindergarten to Year 6, the school endeavours to provide a holistic and comprehensive education for all students by nurturing the academic, physical, interpersonal and spiritual dimensions of school life. St James’ features an inviting and nurturing educational environment equipped with modern facilities and modern technology. The school grounds feature open plan collaborative classrooms, flexible working spaces, a computer lab, multi-purpose hall, outdoor covered learning area, large playground and playing fields and a fully equipped learning centre with a well-resourced library. These spaces provide a stimulating and adaptable learning environment for all students.

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Update from Catholic Schools Office 6 April 2020

Monday 6 April

Please find below the latest letter from Mr Gerard Mowbray, Director of Catholic Schools Office.

060420_cso_letter_to_parents.pdf


Mr Moon's Principal Message and Holy Week Reflection

Monday 6 April

Wow! What a term. 2020 has definitely been a mixed bag; from droughts and bushfires, rain and COVID-19……. and everything in between. We have shared an incredible ride together this term. Thank you so much for being a caring and positive school community.

 We have had a very busy term @ SJM. We have:

  • Welcomed our new Kindergarten students
  • Become a Gifted Education Lead School
  • Competed at the Regional & Diocesan Swimming Carnivals
  • Inducted our School Leaders into their positions
  • Served the community at Red Door Community Kitchen
  • Celebrated Catholic Schools Week
  • Visited our local preschools
  • Visited Calvary Retirement Community
  • Celebrated Mass together
  • Had Ochre Opportunity Hub deliver Indigenous sessions with our students
  • Commemorated Ash Wednesday
  • Assisted in Clean Up Australia Day
  • Had fun with our Footy Fever Day
  • Celebrated Harmony Day
  • Worked hard at school
  • Transitioned so beautifully to working at home
  • Survived the stresses of the world……. so far.

 

With everything that has been going on of late it is easy to forget everything that has occurred this term. We really do have an active and vibrant school and community that we should be proud of. Congratulations and thank you.

As principal of SJM, I am blessed to be surrounded by you all. In this time of uncertainty, I would like to thank:

  • The school staff for their commitment and dedication to their students. As you can appreciate the school has seen significant changes over the past few weeks, on a near daily basis. They have maintained their composure across this situation. Thank you.
  • The students for maintaining their ‘love of learning’, whether they are at school or at home. I applaud them for their flexibility and resilience.
  • You, the parents, for keeping everything calm at home for our children. Many of you have become IT gurus and teachers overnight and you are to be congratulated on your enthusiasm and passion to keep our children learning.
  • The executive – Mrs Shannon Hall, Mrs Jane Jacobs and Miss Eloise Hand, for their commitment to the school and for being a sounding board and a filter to me. As you can appreciate, there has been a lot of information coming through and they have assisted me dutifully in keeping the school sailing in the right direction and in relatively ‘calm’ waters.
  • Mrs Shannon Hall for her hard work and absolute professionalism in creating our school website within 36 hours. This mammoth achievement has given clarity for all our community moving forward. I thank you Shannon.

Unfortunately, I believe that this ‘Home Isolation’ will continue in Term 2. Our teachers are busily planning for next term as though the majority of our students will be at home. Our SJM Home Learning webpage – www.sjmhomelearning.weebly.com will always be your first port of call. We have introduced our community to ZOOM Meetings. If you haven’t downloaded this platform already, I encourage you to do so.

At this stage, SJM will be open for students of essential workers. This is the current directive from the Federal and State Governments. If you are at home, we encourage you to keep your children at home and help to flatten the curve. It is important that we minimise the impact the COVID-19 has in our community and our nation. Please support the directives of our leaders.

I will keep you up to date with everything that is happening via Facebook and our Schoolzine app.

Thank you so much for your continued support of our school. It is valued and appreciated.

HOLY WEEK REFLECTION

Many of you know that last year I went on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land. I must admit that the pilgrimage changed me as a person.

This Holy Week and Easter Triduum I was expecting to commemorate and celebrate within my School and my Parish in a very different way.

Instead, yesterday, I watched Mass at Home with Fr Rob. I listened to the Passion and I felt it. I had walked it and been there and, I believe, have a better understanding of it as a Catholic man.

Today I thought I would share one with you and a few pictures of my travels again.

Holy Thursday – The Last Supper, Garden of Gethsemane

On Holy Thursday Jesus shared the Last Supper with his Disciples. Jesus sent Peter and John ahead to the Upper Room in Jerusalem to make the preparations for the Passover Feast. The humblest of actions was performed at this meal – the washing of the Disciples’ feet by Jesus. My leadership style is based upon this servant leadership model and I model this to the students, especially our Year 6 leaders.

Whilst in Jerusalem, I visited the Cenacle – the room reported to have played host to the Last Supper. As I have stated previously, there are many places that Jesus did stand or walk, we know this as fact. There are other places where we can say Jesus was in this area. This is one of them. Anyways, this is a public area, not run by the Franciscans. There is also a Muslim prayer alcove located in the room.

We walked down to the Garden of Gethsemane. It is a steep walk down from the Mount of Olives. This is the place that Jesus went with his disciples to pray. Presently there are two sections of the garden: a public and private section. We were blessed to have time in meditation and prayer in the private section. In prayer I reflected on Andrew Chinn’s lyrics – ‘walk with me, stay with me. In the darkness, pray with me.’ In my reflections on that day I had two thoughts: thinking of Jesus and the fact he knew what was coming in the days ahead. How did he keep his composure through it all? I honestly believe he put his trust in his father – Our God. Often, when I am stressed, worried and anxious I often put it in the hands of the Lord. The power of prayer is amazing. I often share with him my worries in prayer and I leave it there. Quite often I’ll sleep on it and by morning I know what to do and how to move forward. I have talked to the children about the power of prayer also.

Beside the garden is the Church of All Nations, built over the rock on which Jesus is believed to have prayed in agony before he was betrayed by Judas and arrested. Although a very busy Church, I took the time to reflect on the moments of that night and how everyone would’ve felt. It would’ve been a highly charged night that’s for sure.

After Jesus was arrested, he was led by the guards across the Kedron Valley to the Chief Priest, Caiphas’ Palace. It is here where we now find St Peter’s Gallicantu Church. Gallicantu means the ‘cock’s crow.’ Jesus was brought from the Garden of Gethsemene to here and was condemned to death. Many pilgrims took their shoes off and stood on the steps that Jesus walked on. This was a very special moment indeed. Under the house of Caiaphas there is a dungeon. It is believed that Jesus was lowered into the dungeon and he stayed there overnight. This whole area was a very special moment. Walking into the dungeon where Jesus was reportedly lowered into was surreal, as a group of Indian pilgrims were singing together. It was that moving, it brought me to tears.

These lyrics, ‘In the footsteps of Jesus we follow on your way. As we walk on your path of love and hope and faith. We journey together each day as we grow. In the love of our God, wherever we go,’ are from the Andrew Chinn song – In the Footsteps of Jesus. This song reminds me no matter what, Jesus was a man of love, hope and faith. How can I be more like Jesus even when things aren’t going as planned?

Good Friday - The Way of the Cross, Crucifixion and Death Easter Sunday – The Resurrection

On our last morning in Jerusalem we walked the Via Delarosa or the Way of the Cross through the streets of Jerusalem’s Old City.

We began in the place where the Antonia Fortress once stood (Pilate’s Judgement Hall) and continued through to the Basilica of the Holy Sepulchre which contains the sites of both the crucifixion and the tomb of Jesus. I even went under a current day building to walk on pavement that was there in Jesus’ time. There even was a soldier’s game etched into the pavement; one that would’ve been used at the time of his crucifixion. It just was a surreal experience.

You may not know this, but Jesus did not carry a cross. In fact, he just carried the cross beam: that was heavy enough. However, it was still a most humbling experience to carry the cross through the streets of Jerusalem. The locals were looking at us like we were crazy tourists. I likened that to the same looks that Jesus probably received as a perceived criminal.

Sometimes it can be hard for us to connect our daily struggles to the profound sacrifice that Jesus made for us. Sharing the burden of the cross and reflecting on Jesus’ passion as we walked in his footsteps, as the day was dawning, brought this connection to life in a very real way. Jesus bore the pain of our suffering and how privileged we are to be able to, in faith, ‘cast all our anxiety onto him because he cares for us’ (1 Peter 5:7).

The Via Delarosa concluded at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. The place where Jesus was crucified, prepared for burial, laid in the tomb and rose from the dead. A humbling experience. We walked up the stairs to the place where Jesus was crucified. Hundreds of people in a small room in, mostly silence. We waited to bend down and touch the spot where Jesus was crucified. Below that section is the rock on display – a piece of ironstone that was left in the quarry that they used to crucify people.

We were so very privileged to celebrate Mass in the Edicule – the tomb chapel in the Holy Sepulchre where Jesus was laid. This gave us a unique opportunity to be able to privately venerate the rock on which Jesus’ body was laid. This was another moment where I cried. A very special spot where Jesus died, was buried and rose from the dead.

‘We adore you O Christ and we praise you, for by your Holy Cross you have redeemed the world’

I will always think of Holy Week and Easter quite differently because of my pilgrimage. In reading this I hope awakens you to be a person who can trust in the Lord.

I wish everyone a happy and Holy Easter and I look forward to a fantastic Term 2.

 

Cheers,

Aaron Moon
Principal


3rd April - Letter to parents from Catholic Schools Office

Friday 3 April

Please click on the link below to view today's letter from Mr Gerard Mowbray, Director of Schools. There is no new information in today's letter, except his confirmation of the NSW Premier's encouragement for children to stay home wherever this is possible. Mr Mowbray states, "Parents who need to attend work and who do not have the support at home, can continue to send their children to school."

030420_cso_letter_to_parents.pdf

Have a great weekend.

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