Dear Parents and Caregivers,
Last week we recognised Refugee Week in our School community through coming together for our School Assembly on Wednesday. We were moved by the presentation of a power-point presentation and video on the “Refugee Condition” produced by Year 12 student, Reza Mohammadi. The statistics on the number of refugees worldwide are staggering:
Of these numbers, only 107,100 people have been re-settled.
With the help of family pictures Mohsen Sarwari (Year 5) and Joseph Pitia (Year 4) retold their personal and family story of being a refugee and seeking asylum in Australia. Mohsen was born in Syria and having experienced the atrocity of the recent war in Syria his family was sponsored to come to Australia. Towards the end of his presentation Mohsen said, ”I am happy to be in Australia because I no longer feel scared for my safety”. However, Mohsen worries about his auntie who still lives in Syria, who is safe for now, but fears that one day the war may encroach on her city.
Joseph Pitia traced his family life in South Sudan torn apart by three serious civil wars where three million people have died. Before moving to Melbourne in 2006 Joseph’s father had sought refuge in five countries in Africa. Joseph said, “I’m lucky to be born in Australia and I feel safe when I see all the atrocities occurring in South Sudan”.
Congratulations to Joseph and Mohsen for their exceptional courage in telling their story to all students and staff of Blackfriars Priory School. It was a wonderful experience for us and gave us an insight into the lives of displaced people and an understanding of how courageous, resilient, resourceful and grateful refugee people are for a new start in a new country. The stories of Mohsen and Joseph touched our hearts and opened our minds to see their world and understand their experiences with a clearer vision.
As the Australian Bishops wrote,
“As Christians we know it is within us to hear the call of Jesus (in the person of the refugee). As Australians we have shown ourselves willing to take the path of generosity and leadership. We can do so again”
Australian Catholic Bishops; Social Justice Statement 2015-16.
Reza Mohammadi then presented a video where he interviewed students and staff about their family cultural background. There are 45 nationalities represented at Blackfriars Priory School making us a truly multi-cultural School. Students spoke of their acceptance and friendship within our diverse community taking delight in the multi-cultural nature of our School. I felt very proud to be a member of our School community and proud of our students who are building a peace-filled world through respect and acceptance of others. I would like to thank Reza, Mohsen, Joseph and all students who participated in our celebration of our multi-cultural School and recognising Refugee Week.
Farewell Fr Karl Emerick OP and Welcome Fr Matthew Boland OP
We also farewelled Fr Karl at our assembly. Fr Karl joined the Blackfriars community as Br Karl in 2013. He was ordained to the Priesthood in 2014 and has continued in his role as Chaplain to the Blackfriars community until the end of April this year.
Fr Karl has given generously of his time and talents as our Chaplain. He has celebrated the sacraments in our community and lead the community in celebrating Mass in St Albert the Great Chapel. He has generously made himself available to students and staff to talk about our spiritual lives and he has been a source of encouragement to our community. Fr Karl will continue to serve our community on the School Board as Deputy Chair, Chair of the Finance Committee and member of the Capital Projects committee. In all his work, Fr Karl has and continues to have, the best interests of students and the progress of our School in his mind. Fr Karl has been appointed as Parish Priest of the North Adelaide and Prospect Parish and will continue to be a welcome presence in our school community.
In farewelling Fr Karl Emerick OP, we welcome Fr Matthew Boland OP to our community as our School Chaplain. We are very fortunate to have a Dominican priest in our community and we look forward to the spiritual guidance of Fr Matthew and his presence among us for years to come.