Catholic Character report

Greetings to you all, my name is Jack Byrne, and I am the Catholic Character Head for John Paul II High School in 2023. In this role I intend to focus on the Social Justice aspect and increase awareness of topical issues, not only in our school but also the wider community.

As a school community we recently celebrated our Opening Mass on the Eighth of February and this was overall a success, however there was one minor misunderstanding which I would like to address for the benefit of those students who do not come from a Catholic background. That is, that in order to receive the Eucharist at Mass, you must first complete your Holy Communion program through the Parish, so that you are aware of the significance of the Eucharist. If you would be interested in completing this Sacrament, then please contact the Parish Office.

Over the next week there are two important events which the JPII Mission team will be running. Firstly, on Monday the 20th of February there will be a non-uniform day with a gold coin donation, and there will also be a sausage sizzle at break 2. These will cost $2 each or three for $5. All profits from this will be donated to Red Cross New Zealand to support people displaced by Cyclone Gabriel, and as a school community we are also sending them our thoughts and prayers. Secondly, we also have our Ash Wednesday Mass on this Wednesday, the 22nd of February, and this marks the beginning of Lent in the Liturgical calendar. Lent is a time of prayer and reflection, as we prepare for the celebration of the resurrection of Our Lord Jesus Christ and remember the sacrifices he made for our sins. During Lent it is tradition to give up certain luxury items or activities as we focus on self-improvement, and it would be fantastic to see some of our students observing this tradition during this time. Due to COVID-19 restrictions being lifted this year we will also be able to once more use ashes to symbolise repentance instead of the black ribbons we wore last year.

Another major event happening this term is the prestigious Bishop Lyons shield competition, which will be held at John Paul II for the first time since 2014, and this will be the 74th time the shield has been contested. For those of you who are unaware what this is it is an annual speech and debating competition between all the Secondary Schools in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Canterbury, so we will be hosting teams from Saint Bede’s College, Saint Thomas of Canterbury College, Villa Maria College, Marian College, Roncalli College, and Catholic Cathedral College. The Bishop Lyons Shield competition is a highlight of the school year as it is the only time that all the secondary schools in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Canterbury congregate and interact, and so whilst it is a competition it is also a fantastic opportunity to meet people, renew friendships, and form connections between schools.

Finally, I would like to invite all students to our JPII Mission team meetings, which are held break 2 Thursdays in MM1, as I would love to hear your ideas as to how the school can better embrace our Marist and Mercy Values.