From the Principal
Sunday just gone was Pentecost and we celebrated our Parish Confirmations last night.
Pentecost is considered the ‘Birthday of the Catholic Church’. For about fifty days after the death of Jesus, the Apostles had laid very low, fearful of receiving the same brutal treatment that had occurred to Jesus and probably still trying to fully understand the mysteries and complexities of His resurrection.
It is hard to fully comprehend the emotional and personal challenges they would have felt. They had fully thrown in their lot with this compelling and charismatic teacher, and had believed so wholly in his message, only to watch helpless as he was executed. Remember, these were people who had left their jobs to follow an itinerant preacher in a time of subsistence. They would have felt constant anxiety.
The Pentecost story speaks of several miraculous events, where tongues of fire appear, and the Apostles begin to speak in different languages. The less spoken of and more relatable change though is in the Apostle Peter. On this day, he stood in front of the crowds and preached with boldness, conviction and authority. For 7 weeks he had been fearful and alone but then emerged from his anxiety with a vision, a mission and a clear message. St Peter offers us an example of resilience, courage and the power of learning. He would have been the most terrified he had ever been. Emotionally, Peter would have been in a pit where he was dominated by indecision.
Similar anxieties can occur for our students when faced with new learning. We speak to them of a ‘Learning Pit’. You will possibly have heard your child use the same terminology. The Learning Pit is a spot where a learner will be because of several unresolved questions. It is the place where our students address new perspectives of a new concept, reveal contradictions or conflicts within the knowledge, try to make sense of confusion, combine new and creative ideas and ultimately reach clarity.
When St Peter addressed the crowds on Pentecost, he spoke not just with passion but also learning. He had struggled with the unresolved questions and conflicts of the trauma of the crucifixion, applied his learning and his faith and then spoke with clarity and force.
We seek as teachers to guide our students through the same process – one in which struggle and confusion is a necessary ingredient of resilience, positive learning behaviour and ultimately, success.