St Mary's Catholic School 1 December - Term 4 Week 7

First Sunday of Advent, Cycle C

Sunday, November 28, 2021

Gospel Reading

Luke 21:25-28, 34-36

Jesus teaches his disciples to be vigilant so that they will be ready when the Son of Man comes in glory.

Background on the Gospel Reading

Sunday 28th November is the first Sunday of Advent, which is also the first Sunday of the new liturgical year. The Advent season includes the four Sundays that precede Christmas. Advent is a time of preparation for the coming of the Lord. In this season, we recall two central elements of our faith: the final coming of the Lord in glory and the incarnation of the Lord in the birth of Jesus. The key themes of the Advent season are watchful waiting, preparation, and justice.

In this new liturgical year, the Gospel of Luke will be the primary Gospel proclaimed (Lectionary Cycle C). Today's Gospel is taken from the last chapter before the passion narrative in which Jesus is teaching in the Temple. We hear Jesus speak to his disciples about the need for vigilance and prayer as they wait for the coming of the Son of Man in glory. This passage marks the conclusion of a lengthy dialogue in which Jesus predicts the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem, warns about the persecution and tribulations to follow, and identifies the signs that will signal the coming of the Son of Man in glory.

The community for whom Luke wrote his Gospel may have believed that they were already experiencing some of the events Jesus described. Most scholars believe that Luke's Gospel was written after the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans in 70 A.D. At the time, many Christians interpreted this event as an indication that Jesus' second coming was near.

Though Jesus predicts a time of destruction and fear, Jesus indicates that others will be frightened; Jesus' disciples are not to fear, but are to stand tall. Yet Jesus does not promise deliverance from anxiety or tribulations. He encourages his disciples to pray for strength. The early Christian communities did not find consolation in the promise of a utopia, nor should we. Instead, we find in our Christian faith the means by which we witness to God's unfailing love for us in all circumstances.

Jesus' predictions about the end times may sound dire, but in the next paragraph Luke tells us that people woke early to listen to Jesus' teaching in the Temple area. In his person and in his message, those who heard Jesus found strength and consolation. Like the first Christians, we may encounter events and circumstances that could lead us to despair. Through prayer, however, we find strength and consolation in Jesus' words and in his continuing presence with us to endure all things and to witness to the action of God in our world.


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

It is hard to believe that there are just over two weeks of school to go. Friday, December 17 12:00pm is our last day of school.

As communicated in week 1 of this term, we were expecting a very different end of the year than what we have usually experienced due to COVID and sadly COVID has not let us down with what is now present within the wider Tauranga community.

We have had to adapt and do things differently in line with the Ministry of Educations 'take an abundance of precaution approach'.

The following information means that we will remain in Alert Level 2 until the end of the school year. We had planned for this moving forward. I know for some families this will be disappointing and like all other school communities we are dealing with the same issues and unable to have parents onsite. With this in mind, we ask that in order to keep our children and community safe we are asking all people onsite to follow the Alert Level 2 guidelines of when you enter the site you wear a mask and not to stay longer than 15 minutes. I know this is challenging and our community has been excellent in supporting the Ministry of Health/Education guidelines that we follow.

Please read the following information carefully:

The MOE has made the decision that schools will remain at Level 2 settings for the remainder of the year and move to the Traffic Lights from 2022.

This Friday, 3rd December, New Zealand moves to the Covid Protection Framework (CPF) or "traffic light system". This will be a time of readjusting our expectations and understanding of how to navigate our way through society.

To maintain stability for schools the MOE has decided that changes within schools will not take place until 2022. This means that our hopes to run some end-of-year events if we were at "orange" or "green" have been dashed with the Level 2 restrictions. However, all hope is not lost! We will now look to see what we can do under the Level 2 rules and let you know as we figure things out. Below is the latest information on the traffic light system from the Ministry of Education.

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Prizegiving Tuesday 14th of December

Our Prizegiving will happen with our children receiving their awards with photography and videos made to share with families as we are unable to have everyone attend in the centre. We will be bringing Year groups up to the centre to record and present them with their awards.

End of Year Mass

Our End of Year Mass will be celebrated with our Year 6 students and some staff as we are unable to have this in the Church. This will be videoed and watched by the children and sent out to the families to view. Again our apologies as we are making sure we follow the guidelines that are set for schools.

Year 6 Breakfast

The Yr 6 breakfast will be modified as this is deemed a non-curriculum activity, adults will be required to produce vaccine certificates to come onsite and we still can't go over our 100 limit. We will inform you closer to the time as to what this will look like. This will involve the children viewing some slides that have photos of them individually, class photos, and a video reflection from them in regards to their time at St Mary's. We will be able to have some adults watch with children but unfortunately not everyone. If you would like to watch this, especially if your family is leaving St Mary's, please let me know. The video can be viewed as a family as well once we share it to make it a special family event.

This will be very disappointing for adults in our community that will not be able to be present because of the restrictions and for that we can only apologise and hope we all understand the extraordinary circumstances that this year has produced. We are ultimately trying to make this current situation a positive one for our Yr 6 students.

We know our community will be very supportive, thank you.

Alert Level 2 Reminders

As COVID-19 is active in the Bay of Plenty it is timely to reiterate the Alert level 2 requirements whilst on the school site.

Please help protect our students, staff, and each other by adhering to the following requirements.

1. Use the NZ COVID tracer QR code when entering the school site.

2. All adults coming on-site are asked to wear a face mask at all times and observe social distancing of 2m.

3. If you must come on-site please make your drop off & pick up as quick as possible and no longer than 15min. DO NOT enter the classrooms.

4. Please do not gather outside the classrooms or around the play areas.

5. Please send your child to school with a drink bottle.

6. Hygiene - we use hand sanitizer after every break and promote good hand washing practices. We teach students to cough and sneeze into their elbows.

7. If your child is unwell please keep them at home. Please do not enter the school site if you are unwell.

8. No parents to stay and watch children's practices as we cant have people congregating at the moment.

Thank you for your understanding. Together we will keep our community safe.

Vaccination Information

At 11.59pm on Monday 25 October the COVID-19 Public Health Response Order for Mandatory Vaccinations for Education came into effect.

Everyone who works or volunteers for a school who may have contact with children or students or will be present at a time when children and students are also present must have had a first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine by 15 November and be fully vaccinated by 1 January 2022.

The vaccination requirements apply wherever in person schooling occurs, such as on the school site, but also at school camps, swimming pools, museums, or where other education outside the classroom (EOTC) programmes take place.

This means that we are only allowed to allow people to help at school events with children if they have had at least their first dose by 16 November, and are fully vaccinated by 1 January 2022.

We already have a school requirement that adults who wish to help on trips, camps or in class must have a police vet through the school within the last three years. This order is now included with that requirement for us. If you wish to be involved as a helper in any events after 16 November, please email through or pop by school with evidence of your vaccination/s before that date. When school starts next year, we will need evidence of full vaccination by 1 January for any school helpers. We will store your information privately in our school database.

The requirements do not apply to people who are just visiting the school, such as for a learning conference or a parent, whānau and community evening.

After School and Before School Care

There will be NO AFTER SCHOOL CARE on the last day of school Friday 17th December.

Before School Care and After school care will start officially on Friday 4th February 2022.

January Holiday Programme

The January Holiday Programme will run from January 17th-21st and January 24th -28th, 2022.

We will not have the holiday programme running the first week of February for cleaning purposes and we will be holding Teacher Only days during this week.

To download a copy of the enrolment forms click here...

Magazine orders

Our preparations and pre-orders for the magazine will begin this week. We may run into the holidays but we will take pre-orders and then get them delivered or pick-up options available. If you would like to pre-order a magazine please pay $25 into your child's account and we will make sure they receive their copy. Alternatively, you can pay at the office and a copy will be delivered. We have only ordered 150 as we didn't sell half of the 250 from 2020. This will be a first in first serve basis.

Break time alterations for 2022

Break times for 2022. We are going to go on a 1x 20 min break for morning tea, 1x30 min break for lunch. We are wanting to maximize our learning times so we will trial this for 2022.

8:50am - 11am first block brain food in the middle

11:00am - 11:20am morning tea play

11:20am - 11:30am eat

11:30am - 1:00pm second block

1:00pm - 1:30pm lunchtime play

1:30pm - 1:45pm eating

1:45pm - 2:55pm afternoon block

End of Term 4, 2021

A reminder that school will finish at 12noon on Friday 17th of December.

2022 Enrolments

As the end of the year draws closer and next year beckons, it is important that, we as a school are aware of any intentions to leave the area and / or our school. Also, if you have children turning 5 next year, or know of families who intend to enrol at St Mary’s at any time during 2022, then please ensure the enrolment procedures are started now and contact the school office.

Ngā mihi nui

James Murray

Reverse Advent Calendar

Thank you for helping us support the St Vincent de Paul Food Bank this Advent!

This week we are collecting pantry items and water. Next week we will collect toiletries and treats.

Thank you for helping us keep Christ in Christmas.

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The winners are...

The winners of the Capture the Flag tournament and the first to hold the Aroha Challenge shield is Whanau Akkerman!!! Go whanau Akkerman
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It’s time to stocktake the library!

Can you please help by searching every nook and cranny for outstanding school library books (and school readers/journals) and return them to the school library (or office) a.s.a.p. The goal is ZERO overdues by the end of term.

Many thanks,

Debbie Nowell, Librarian


Jump Jam Results

Results are now in from the 2021 Jump Jam Competition. The results come after a combination of online performances from the North Island teams and from the South Island teams that performed in person.

Congratulations to all the St Mary's Jump Jam teams. Special mention to coach Kim Artus for his hard work and long hours, and to all the other coaches, managers and parents who have put in so much time and effort for their children.

St Mary's Puppies - 1st in NZ Year 1-3

St Mary's Busters - 1st in NZ All Boys year 4-8

St Mary's Rockers - 2nd in North Island Online Comp Year 5-6 Extreme

St Mary's Changers - 2nd in NZ Year 5-6 Ultimate

Amazing Effort and Well Done!

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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

Tuesday 7 June- TEACHER ONLY DAY, Kahui Ako

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

Friday 18th November- TEACHER ONLY DAY

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

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