Lockdown Newsletter

St Mary's Catholic School 25 August 2021 - Term 3 Week 5

Twenty-First Sunday of Ordinary Time, Cycle B

Sunday, August 22, 2021

Gospel Reading

John 6:60-69

Simon Peter confesses his faith that Jesus alone has the words of the eternal life.

Background on the Gospel Reading

Sunday's Gospel today we hear the conclusion of the “Bread of Life discourse” in the sixth chapter of John’s Gospel. In the preceding verses, which we have heard proclaimed in our liturgy over the past few weeks, we have heard Jesus explain that he is the Bread of Life, given so that those who believe may have eternal life. This discourse follows the miracle in which Jesus fed more than five thousand people with five barley loaves and two fish. As Jesus has been teaching these things, John’s Gospel describes a murmuring crowd unable to accept Jesus’ words. In today’s Gospel, the crowd has dwindled in number, and John no longer references them, or the Jews. Instead John describes the questioning of those considered to be Jesus’ own disciples.

Sunday’s Gospel first records the response of those in the crowd who are described as Jesus’ disciples. Just as the larger crowd had struggled with Jesus’ teaching, these disciples also cannot accept Jesus’ words. Jesus is said to know about their murmuring. He responds by acknowledging their unbelief and by reiterating that only those chosen by the Father will follow Jesus to the end. John’s Gospel reports that many of those who had been Jesus’ disciples ceased to follow him at this point. The number of people following Jesus dwindled from a crowd of more than 5,000 to only 12 people. And it is to these Twelve that Jesus now turns his attention.

Simon Peter’s response to Jesus’ question as to whether those closest to him will also leave, reminds us of the reports of Peter’s confession of faith in the Synoptic Gospels. Peter announces, on behalf of all the Twelve, that they have come to believe all that Jesus has taught about himself: Jesus is the one from God in whom they have found the path to eternal life.

This conclusion of the Bread of Life discourse focuses on personal faith in the life of Christian discipleship. Each person must make his or her own judgment about who Jesus is and in doing so determine the way of life that he or she will follow. God’s grace invites us to be Jesus’ disciples, but each person must respond to the grace of God and confess as his or her own the belief that Jesus is the one from God. This faith then commits us to the path of life, leading us to eternal life.


Tēnā koutou kātoa e te whānau,

Tihei mauri ora, nau mai, haere mai, tena koutou katoa, E nga whanau, e nga kaiako, e nga tamariki, e nga manuhiri, tena koutou, tena koutou, tena koutou katoa

Welcome to our Lockdown newsletter. I do hope all is well in your bubbles and everyone is coping as well as they can.

I would like to reiterate that we ask each family to continue to do what they can in regards to the online learning and to inform us if you need anything. I stress these are challenging times for us all and managing work and families is challenging. Please make sure you are able to set aside some time for yourself and also to enjoy some time away from the learning with your children.

I have been very lucky to see some of our children's learning and go into their zoom catch ups. I have really enjoyed connecting this way and I will hopefully see a little more by the end of the week.

I know as a community you will have seen lots of posts on HERO, facebook and through Google classroom, please know that we are trying to keep everyone as up to date as we can. Our website has all the latest newsletters, facebook posts and is a good source of information and you are able to translate it as well. If you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact us.

On Friday we will know more about what next week will bring for us all. The teachers will be planning for online learning to continue next week and they will be able to make adjustments according to the Alert Levels. We will keep you informed as these developments happen.

As to events, happenings around the school we will treat each one of these on a case by case basis and this will ultimately depend on Alert Levels. Please note that we take all our information and guidance from the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Health.

Ngā mihi nui

James Murray


Thank you for joining us in prayer and our liturgy this week. Jesus reminds us to love God, ourselves and one another. This can be challenging at times especially when we are feeling anxious and pressured. Remember to take time as a family to be grateful for the blessings you do have.

Pastoral Care

An important aspect of our school is our pastoral care. Please do not hesitate to contact any of the leadership team if you would like to chat, need assistance, spiritual support or any other type of support you and your whānau may need.


Look with compassion on the afflicted, grant eternal rest to the dead, comfort to mourners, healing to the sick, peace to the dying, strength to healthcare workers, wisdom to our leaders and the courage to reach out to all in love.


Spending time with Jesus at home

This is a great link to a pdf - Spending time with Jesus at home from Sydney. A great, easy step way to praying at home.

“Our Churches may be closed, but the temples of the Holy Spirit remain open… that’s you and me!

Prayer space photos

During Monday’s liturgy I encouraged the students to be the head, heart and hands of Christ at home. To also make a sacred prayer space in your homes. I asked that photos be emailed to trush@stmarystga.school.nz so I can make a short movie for us all to enjoy.

Thank you for your support.

Here is a pic of Mrs Rush’s and Mrs Strange’s home prayer spaces.

Mrs Rush's prayer space

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Mrs Strange's prayer space

Hi Peter & Evelyn!
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Ko Hāta Maria, te Matua Wahine o te Atua

We are reminded by our Bishops to pray to Mary to guide and support us. The very Blessed new artwork - Ko Hāta Maria, te Matua Wahine o te Atua. By artist Damien Walker is a stunning piece that reflects Aotearoa. We look forward to learning more about this piece and viewing it sometime soon.

The artwork aims to respect our different cultures and backgrounds. The painting captures details which are unique to our country and Catholic identity. It asks us to celebrate the things we share in our community and to learn more about our different worlds.

Christchurch based artist Damien Walker’s goal was to create a vision of Madonna and Child with an emphasis on kotahitanga (unity). He collaborated with Anthony Te Keepa to grow his knowledge of Te Ao Māori and to ensure he was connecting with authentic voices to help steer the project.

For Damien “the painting depicts Mary as a symbol of unity in her universal motherhood, uniting Heaven and Earth in her son, Jesus, the son of God.”

“She reflects the unity of the Church, which reaches to the ends of the Earth, stretching not only across the oceans but across the centuries as well. The work has a distinctly New Zealand depiction of Mary, emphasising also the unity of the tangata whenua with all the other peoples who have come to live alongside them in the partnership of bi-culturalism, called to live the same faith and baptism, each in their unique way.” (https://www.tearaamaria.nz/artwork)

Teresa Rush



Hairini Marae - Pōwhiri & Noho

The pōwhiri and noho we had planned for the 30th and 31st of August at Hairini marae have been postponed. As soon as we know when these can take place we will let you know.

Ngā manaakitanga

Lisa Broadmore

Let's check in with some families to see what they are doing during lockdown

Whanau Akkerman Google Meet this morning.

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Covid poem by Maebh

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While we are in level 4 our faith community will be an online one.

Please join Fr Arnold and I daily at midday for Mass online.

Click onto our Facebook or YouTube links found on our parish website: http://taurangamoanacatholic.nz/masses/

The parish office will still be monitoring phone calls and emails. In the meantime stay safe and follow the Government guidelines for Covid-19. Here are some reminders:

1. Keep checking the locations of interest, and note the times/dates.

2. Get tested if you have been in a location of interest at the time/date, if you are contacted by tracers or if you have cold and flu symptoms. If you are a close contact, stay at home and isolate.

3. Stay at home in your bubble.

4. If you are visiting an essential service, you are required to wear a face mask.

5. It is also advised that you wear a mask when you leave the house, as an extra layer of protection.

6. Wash your hands and scan in.

7. Be kind! Kia Kaha.

Blessings and peace.

Fr Philip, Parish Priest

Hamilton Diocese Vacancy - Schools' Attendance Dues Credit Controller

The Catholic Integrated Schools’ Office is responsible for the collection and management of attendance dues for all schools attached to the Hamilton Diocese. An opportunity has arisen for a full-time position within the Schools’ Office. If you are interested in this role, or would like to know more, please email your cover letter & CV to: leej@cdh.org.nz Catholic Integrated Schools’ Office, Catholic Diocese of Hamilton.


Term 2 - Monday 3 May - Thursday 8 July

Monday 7 June - Queens Birthday

Friday 9 July - Kahui Ako Teacher Only Day

Term 3 - Monday 26 July - Friday 1 October

Wednesday 11 August - Accord Day Teacher Only Day

Term 4 - Monday 18 October - Friday 17 December (12 noon)

Monday 25 October - Labour Day

Friday 12th November - Accord Day Teacher Only Day


Term 1 - Thursday 3 February - Thursday 14 April

Monday 7 February - Waitangi Day

Term 2 - Monday 2 May - Friday 8 July

Monday 6 June - Queen's Birthday

Friday 24 June - Matariki

Term 3 - Monday 25 July - Friday 30 September

Term 4 - Monday 17 October - Tuesday 20 December

Monday 24 October - Labour Day

There is provision for two Teacher only days and two Accord days to be added to the 2022 calendar year.

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