Monday, September 19, 2016

Dear Parents, Caregivers and Friends of St Mary’s School,

This week is the last week of term three and this year seems to be going very quickly. Judging by the plethora of blossom, daffodils and lambs, spring is definitely here.

Our first Eucharist Mass on Sunday was a very nice occasion and I would like to thank Father

Michael, Monsignor Vince and Mrs Dillon for putting together such a lovely service. I would also like to thank all of the parents who supported our young people through this exciting journey. Most importantly thank you to our pupils who were such a credit to themselves and their families in the way that they conducted themselves throughout the morning. A huge thank you to the PTA for their efforts and to the parents who helped with the morning tea.

As we conclude our winter term and move into our spring term, and the lead into Advent and Christmas, please remember to have a period of rest to recharge your batteries for a busy term to come.

Have a great holiday,

Mike Brosnahan

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Dear Parents, Caregivers and Friends of St Mary’s School,

Recently I was driving in my car on the open road of Central Otago and there was nothing of interest on the radio so I reached into my old pile of CD’s and popped one into the player.

By chance it happened to be Glen Campbell’s greatest hits. One of the first songs that came up was "Try a little kindness".

As I drove through the Maniototo I heard the words "If you see your brother standing by the road with a heavy head from the seeds he sowed and if you see your sister falling by the way just stop and say "you’re going the wrong way".

"You’ve got to try a little kindness, yes show a little kindness just shine your light for everyone to see and if you try a little kindness then you’ll over look the blindness of narrow-minded people on the narrow

minded streets."

I thought how much that this song encapsulates the Christian message. It is a goal that we want our

children to achieve, to be kind and caring.

How often do we say or hear someone else say, "they brought that on themselves". But as the song says we need to be bigger than that.

The America basketball legend Larry Bird said "When he realised how good he was he could acknowledge the good play of others".

That I guess is the key Christian message of the song. Don’t just help your friends or those who ‘you’ think deserve help but rather help all who need help. For those little acts of kindness: saying hello to a stranger, smiling at someone who isn’t a happy person or offering assistance to someone who needs it. That is

being a follower of Christ.

Have a great week,

Mike Brosnahan


Dear Parents, Caregivers and Friends of St Mary’s School,

Last week I had the pleasure to accompany the senior class on their annual school camp. This year, being an even year, was a winter camp based at Kelvin Heights, Queenstown.

The children got to experience a range of interesting and exciting activities that for many were a first:

skiing, gold panning, luging and being transported back into the past (ask the students).

They also: visited Highlands Park, walked a section of the rail trail, swam, visited a museum, walked old Arrowtown and the local Chinese village and rode the Gondola.

The camp was a great success and it’s great to see all of the seniors attempting all of the activities with real enthusiasm.

I would like to thank the exceptional group of parents who accompanied us on camp: Janine Tindall-Morice, Guy Matheson, Adrian Van der Vliet, Brendon Farr and Grant Dodson. Without the support of these parents, events like camp would not be able to take place. So thank you all very much for your


Also a huge thanks to Mrs Judy Baines, who organises the camp so well. The time and effort that Judy puts in is certainly well above what would be expected. She begins planning two years in advance with the initial bookings and then arranges all activities, transport, food and ensures that costs are kept as low as possible.

We learn more about ourselves in times of struggle than in times of ease.

Have a great week,

Mike Brosnahan

Assembly Room

Dear Parents, Caregivers and Friends of St Mary’s School,

As you read this newsletter I will be on camp with our senior class. Going on ‘camp’ is always a real

highlight for our school’s year seven and eight class, not because of the huge range of activities that they get to try, but, because of the life skills that they master.

Before camp you will often ask them what they are looking forward to and aften the answer will be: skiing or luging. But when they return they often focus more on what they learned about themselves or others.

That is our school’s philosophy with regards to outdoor education. I have been on a large number of

winter camps and about the same number of summer ones and during that time we have produced no Olympic skier's or kayakers. But we have produced a large number of highly successful young leaders, and one of the highlights that they always remember about their time at St Mary’s, is Camp.

Have a great week,

Mike Brosnahan


Dear Parents, Caregivers and Friends of St Mary’s School,

What a brilliant turn out for our Family Mass on Sunday. I was especially proud of the way that the younger pupils spoke out with such confidence when they presented their prayers.

As you would expect one of the area prospective parents tend to have a number of questions about when I first meet them is about the special character of our school.

The questions mostly are not about the religious education programme, but they usually focus on what makes our school different from a state school.

In my roll I visit a number of schools for a range of reasons. One major difference with our school and large state schools is the close tie up between the school and the families and the parish.

After the Mass on Sunday a number of parishioners stopped me to tell me of how much they enjoyed the schools input at the Mass and how great it was to see all of those young ones there.

There is a saying that "it takes a village to raise a child".

Sadly a change that I have noticed over a number of years in our society is that families are becoming more isolated. People don’t belong to the range of clubs that they once did. So young people and indeed their families aren’t always exposed to those supportive social situations. As a consequence the school and parish become more important as support offering institutions.

So as a school we remain strongly supportive of enriching and developing further those ties between school and Parish as fundamentally our school exists because of ou