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Friendship and Community

By Laurel Lanner | Posted: Wednesday April 11, 2018

We’ve come to the end of the busiest term in the school year. In every area of school life there has been a lot going on; the school production got under way, athletics day and sports tournaments, trips for history and science, the Wānanga and Leadership Camp to mention a few.

 In terms of our Catholic special character, there has also been much activity. Our work towards social justice for all began with individual class and personal efforts and included leadership workshops, Lenten activities and reflections, and the Caritas Challenge weekend. Our liturgies began with the staff and opening school masses, followed quickly by Ash Wednesday and then the opportunity for Reconciliation and the Holy Thursday masses. The Year 12 retreats were in March and chapel liturgies have taken place throughout the term.

In the midst of this busy activity, it is hard to take time out to reflect and sometimes this can only be done in quick snatches. Recently, I was given a model of the last supper (see attached photo). I used it at school on Holy Thursday and it spent Easter sitting in my living room. I found myself frequently drawn to it. So often the disciples seemed to let Jesus and themselves down, but this model made me wonder at the friendships, the support and the table banter between them. What family news was shared and what jokes told? ‘Three guys walked into a bar, a Samaritan, a Roman and…’ Who made people laugh and who had the shoulder that would bear a burden?

All the communal activity of the school, the loss of Lyn Osten, the friendships made and examined on the Year 12 retreats and other griefs and difficulties of students and staff reinforce just how important friendship and community are. I have often had people say to me that they don’t need to go to church or be part of a Christian community to be a Christian. Pope Francis has just released an Apostolic Exhortation ‘On the Call to Holiness in Today’s World’ (Gaudete et Exsultate). It is a beautiful call to action, but one section (7) particularly caught my attention this morning:

‘We are never completely ourselves unless we belong to a people. That is why no one is saved alone, as an isolated individual. Rather, God draws us to himself, taking into account the complex fabric of interpersonal relationships present in a community. God wanted to enter into the life and history of a people’.

To read the rest of this challenging document go to the Vatican website:

http://w2.vatican.va/content/francesco/en/apost_exhortations/documents/papa-francesco_esortazione-ap_20180319_gaudete-et-exsultate.html

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