The community continues to be challenged with sickness in general, and there are many boys and staff succumbing to illness, the flu being the major contributor to those absences. Hopefully, after the long weekend, we will get back to some normality.
Yesterday at assembly, I gave what you could call a midterm report, where I spoke to the boys about opportunities offered to them at St Bede’s. I have been making visits to junior classes and have really enjoyed the level of engagement and I am presuming the main reason is that the juniors chose the courses across all the curriculum areas. Previously in Year 9 at least there was no choice……. everything was compulsory. It is that element of choice which we believe leads to better engagement and interest in the learning for not only the student but also the teacher. It is great to see because this is building a more effective foundation for their career at St Bede’s, as regards the way they learn. In the 3-4 weeks I have been back there have been a number of opportunities for seniors to engage with people other than teachers at school, people who might help them decide their path when they leave. Careers days for Year 13 and presentations from outside agencies for Year 12 have been well received.
I have also had a number of conversations with old boys either one or two years out of school or a number more. It's quite interesting to listen to their stories. A couple began at university and within a term said it wasn’t for me, and perhaps they had chosen that initial path because that is what their mates were doing, or they were following a path laid out to them by others……whether it was their parents or a family friend. One of those men, now 4 years out of school, who began an engineering degree quickly found out that it wasn’t for him and changed to study music and composition at ARA. Another is now doing an electrician apprenticeship after discovering that varsity wasn’t for him. One who left school last year is as happy as one thing doing a building apprenticeship as he always planned! One has decided that he is joining a seminary in the remote Orkney Islands off the west coast of Scotland.
To all our seniors I said remember that your school days are not the best days of your lives, they are preparation for the best days of your lives.
Recently, Bishop Michael Gielen was appointed by the Holy Father to be the 11th Bishop of Christchurch. He takes over from Archbishop Paul Martin, who in his comparatively short time here has achieved much, providing a springboard for Bishop Michael to continue, something that the new bishop wished to convey. We are most fortunate that both men are most supportive of the education sector. Archbishop Paul had a long career in schools including two stints at St Bede’s, and he frequently presided in his time as Bishop, at various College Masses. Bishop Gielen has already indicated that he will follow suit, which is good news.
Included, for your information are excerpts from the catholic publication” Inform”, from both Archbishop Paul and from Bishop Michael.
From Archbishop Paul
It is with mixed emotions that I write this last message to you. I am delighted that the Holy Father has appointed Bishop Michael Gielen as the 11th bishop of this diocese. He will be a fine shepherd and leader. He is a man of faith, courage and good humour. I know you will come to discover this for yourselves over the coming years. I am also sad that my time living and working in this diocese has come to an end. It has been such a privilege to be the bishop and then to continue being the apostolic administrator over these last 17 months. I leave being so grateful for the people I have met, the opportunities that I have had to work with so many good people for the spread of the gospel, and for the prayer and support I have received. These last four years have been a significant time for the diocese as we have worked to establish new ways of worshipping together and being community for the sake of the mission of the Church. Some difficult decisions had to be made, and I know that a lot has been asked of people in terms of giving up what is familiar and comfortable for the sake of something that is unknown. It involves moving in faith and trust that God is at work. This journey has only just begun and with the leadership of Bishop Michael it will continue into the future as you work on being communities of faith with a strong desire to bring others to know the Good News of Christ.
From Bishop Michael
I am deeply humbled to be called by Pope Francis to serve as your Shepherd and to follow Archbishop Paul Martin, a much-loved Bishop of Christchurch. I have always admired Christchurch Diocese from afar: your rich and generous history of 135 years of faith; your enduring resilience in the face of adversity; not to mention your all-conquering rugby team. Not everything in Christchurch is new for me. I have very fond memories of a cycling pilgrimage I made with eight seminarians in 2015. Cycling through the diocese over five days, we were blessed to enjoy your rich hospitality while also taking in the breathtaking beauty this part of the world is so famous for. Never did I imagine I would become a part of your faith story.
About Bishop Michael
Born 2nd June 1971 in Cambridge
Ordained as a priest in 1997 in Hamilton, then served parishes in Gisborne, Hamilton and the western Bay of Plenty
Education includes studying a Masters in Theology at the Franciscan University of Steubenville, USA 2012-2014 and a Licentiate in Theology from St. Peter Favre Centre for Formators to the Priesthood and Religious Life, Gregorian University, Rome
Moved to Auckland in 2014 as Director of Formation at Holy Cross Seminary, helping to train new priests
March 2020 became Auxiliary Bishop of Auckland
21 May 2022 appointed 11th Bishop of Christchurch