Encourage, Support & Celebrate

Unity, race, division, racism and tolerance are realities which have embraced our world throughout all its history. Nothing is any different today. Just this week, United States President, Barack Obama acknowledged his country’s pain following the shooting of five police officers by a gunman claiming to be upset about police shootings of black Americans – ‘Black Lives Matter’. The President urged all Americans not to despair over divisions saying that “Americans of all races and all backgrounds are rightly outraged by these inexcusable attacks on police”. Meanwhile closer to home, we have just concluded a Federal election with the result being an increased vote to minor parties like One Nation. What has followed is increased airplay on Muslim and Asian immigration and associated negative overtones. Now past Prime Minister, Mr John Howard has joined the discussion stating that Australia is ‘not a racist country’. All these positions continue to raise their head throughout our world and challenge the very fabric of our lives and the Australian culture.

At the conclusion of Term 2, our Social Justice Advocacy Group, under the leadership of Ms Kaye Picton (Religion Curriculum Leader), presented an Interactive Display for St Mary’s College with the theme, ‘Celebrating Diversity: Difference is Good’. As I joined students meandering through the display and reflecting on its themes, it was clear that Australia is made up of many diverse cultures and ethnic groups, joining our first indigenous people, which makes for the multicultural and interesting Australia that exists today. Australia encompasses a diversity which includes different languages, dress, food, religions, understandings, ways of life, beliefs and so on. What a rich tapestry of people there is interwoven throughout our Australian society! To have made this Australian society sustainable, we have promoted tolerance, acceptance and understanding of all people embracing all their differences and celebrating their diversity together.

At the conclusion of the interactive display, each boy was invited to sign a petition supporting, encouraging and celebrating the diversity which is Australia today. I attach this petition (pictured left) and invite all members of the St Mary’s College family to join with the boys in spirit to sign and commit to this pledge. We make this pledge as a backdrop to Sunday’s Gospel (Luke 10: 25-37), ‘The Good Samaritan’, where the despised Samaritan rejected public opinion of him to reach out to the destitute man. The inspirational figure of the good Samaritan is a driving force for our response to diversity and difference.

Let us pray that all our young men and members of the St Mary’s College family ‘reach out’ in solidarity to encourage, support and celebrate the diversity that is Australia. Amen.

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