Community is one of the four key pillars of Dominican life and therefore of our Catholic, Dominican College. But what do we mean when we talk about “community”? Is it more than just about gathering together for events? Is it more than the fact that we happen to work, study or play in the same “place”?
“Community” certainly includes those ideas but it also refers to that much larger community of Catholic Christians who help shape the way we see and understand our world. This Sunday we celebrate Pentecost, the day on which the church was born, with all the freshness, energy, enthusiasm and love of new birth. Two millennia later, much has happened that inspires but also disappoints. Today we pray for a rebirth of that vibrant, inclusive church that is the promise of Pentecost where mutual understanding was not impeded by differences of language or culture. It is our responsibility and privilege as a community to go out to bring God’s compassion into the world; to build a more just world, beginning with the most neglected.
An Irish Dominican Sister, Maeve McMahon OP, based in Cabra, Ireland, has written about Pentecost Sunday, that
“The Holy Spirit is guiding us in this time of crisis just as he did the early disciples. He speaks to us through our fearless leader, Pope Francis, who said during the Easter Vigil, ‘To return to a lively love of the Lord is essential. Otherwise, ours is a “museum” faith, not an “Easter” faith.’ Just as the Holy Spirit led those assembled in the upper room to understand that they had to go out to tell the world the good news about Jesus, the Holy Spirit has led Pope Francis to understand that we cannot be rooted authentically in our Christian identity without being in dialogue with the world – all of the world. On another occasion Pope Francis said, ‘It hurts the heart, when, before a church, before a humanity with so many wounds of war….Christians begin to do philosophical, theological, spiritual “byzantinism”. Rather, what is needed is a spirituality of going out. Go out with this spirituality….do not remain securely locked inside. This is not good…we must go out.’ After Pentecost, the first disciples went out from their safe haven to preach about the reign of God. Empowered and directed by the Holy Spirit, we, too, must go out to bring God’s compassion into the world; to build a more just world, beginning with the most neglected. Let us not be afraid of the task on hand.”
So, in this update I wish to share different ways we are actively building community within the boundaries of Santa Sabina, between the campuses, and beyond the College. This week is Santa Fest on the 6-12 campus, a week dedicated to promoting awareness of and funds for our South African and Solomon Island communities. Immersions to both countries are offered to our Year 11 students, but all of the students from Years 6-12 learn about the significance of our relationship with our sister school in Montebello, South Africa, the Kopanang Women’s project in South Africa, and the Dominican Sisters and students in the Solomon Islands. Wednesday began with an Immersion Breakfast for past, current and future students interested in participating in our immersion program to South Africa or the Solomon Islands. Hosted by the students, but with great leadership and organisation from Ms Natasha Kempers, we enjoyed breakfast, great conversations and the generosity of the community in donating a wide range of prizes for the raffle and silent auction. It was great to welcome back our immediate past graduates and ex-staff who have been involved in immersions.
The Santa Fest concert today invites student and teacher participation in entertaining everyone but more importantly raising funds. Our Year 12 girls have been involved in challenges with St Patrick’s boys, and clearly showed them how to play netball defeating St Pat’s 28-15.