St Mary's Catholic School 3 November - Term 4 Week 3

Thirty-First Sunday in Ordinary Time, Cycle B

Sunday, October 31, 2021

Gospel Reading

Mark 12:28b-34

Jesus is questioned by a scribe about the greatest commandment.

Background on the Gospel Reading

As we continue to read from Mark’s Gospel, our Lectionary skips a chapter that helps set the context for today’s reading. If we were to read the sections skipped (chapter 11 and part of chapter 12), we would hear about Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem, his cleansing of the Temple, and the questioning of Jesus’ authority by the chief priests, scribes, and elders. The context, therefore, for this Gospel is Jesus’ growing exposure before the Jewish authorities. Jesus is being questioned and tested by the Jewish authorities, yet the scribe who addresses Jesus in today’s Gospel seems to be an admirer; he is not testing Jesus.

The question posed in today’s Gospel requires Jesus to interpret the Law of Moses. The Mosaic Law consists of the Ten Commandments and many additional commandments, numbering into the hundreds. For a devout Jew, adherence to the Mosaic Law is an expression of faithfulness to God’s covenant with Israel. The ranking of these commandments was regularly debated among the teachers of the Law.

Jesus was not the only Jewish religious teacher to connect these two commandments, love of God and love of neighbour. Both of these commandments were central elements of the religious tradition that Jesus learned from his Jewish community. Indeed, these commandments continue to be central aspects of contemporary Jewish religious understanding. Jesus’ response to his questioners proposed an integral connection between these two aspects of the Jewish Law. Love of God finds its expression in our love for our neighbor. Many believe, however, that this connection was heard in a new and fresh way when spoken by Jesus.

The scribe who questions Jesus in today’s Gospel engages in a positive dialogue with Jesus. He agrees with Jesus’ teaching that the commandments to love God and love neighbor stand above the commandment to offer worship and sacrifice in the Temple. With this dialogue, Jesus appears to close the debate with the Jewish authorities. Mark reports that no one dared to question Jesus further.


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

Aroha Camp

Welcome back to the Aroha team from camp. I was lucky enough to spend some time at camp on Thursday. The children, teachers, and parents had a fantastic time and I want to thank everyone involved for making it a wonderful experience for our children.

Thankfully Mrs McIntosh is on the mend and back at school.

Alert Level 2 Protocols

Thank-you to our parent community for continuing to adhere to our Alert level 2 protocols around entering and exiting school quickly, mask wearing and trying to not enter classrooms. We know this is challenging and we thank-you for your continued support.

Teacher Only Day Friday 12 November 2021

As previously advertised Friday the 12th of November is a Teacher Only Day. This is an Accord day and school will be closed for the day. There will also be no After School Care or Holiday Programme on this day.

Mrs Teresa Rush

I am pleased to let you know that Mrs Rush will be Acting Principal at St Joseph's Waihi until the end of the year. We are excited for Mrs Rush and the wonderful opportunity this provides.

Aroha Athletics this Thursday 4th November

This event will go ahead this Thursday weather permitting. Unfortunately we can’t have spectators at the Domain, but we will take videos and plenty of photos on the day to share. South Cluster and WBoP Athletics have been cancelled so we are very keen to continue with the St Mary's Athletics as best we can under the current Alert levels.

See schedule of the day here

St Mary's Fireworks Cancelled

In consultation with our Board of Trustees and the PTA, we have made the difficult decision not to hold the fireworks this year. As you can understand we are not permitted to do so under Alert level 2. The decision was made as we did not see Tauranga coming out of this level, potentially until the end of the school year. I want to thank all those involved for the conversations and the thinking around what we can do moving forward.

Thank you to our outgoing PTA Executive

I would like to thank the executive members of the PTA who have stepped down at the recent AGM. Tracey Phizacklea (chair), Kelly Jury (treasurer), Rebecca Morrell (secretary). We thank Tracey, Kelly and Rebecca for their gifts, service and contributions they have given for our school community.

We also have a number of PTA members who are leaving families as their children move on to Intermediates. We would like to thank-you for your consistent work in supporting, contributing and driving many events over the numerous years of service. Our community and especially our children, thank-you.

Welcome to our incoming PTA Executive

Thank you to Katy Radley (chair), Sarah Neely (treasurer) and Lisa Chan (secretary) who are the new executive voted in at the recent AGM.

End of Year

Mass and Prize Giving

Our end of year will certainly look a little different as we are in the process of seeing what our Mass and Prize Giving will look like under Alert level 2 protocols. We are looking at a number of options and we will keep you informed as decisions are made.


Our reports will come home with the continuation of the dials, graph and learning stories.

2022 Classes

Teachers and leaders are beginning the mammoth task of putting together class lists for 2022. This will be done based on our social and academic knowledge of your child and if there are any learning requirements that we need to take into consideration. If you have any queries please feel free to email me.

We look to place children from our knowledge and what we know of them to suit the teacher, their learning and where possible with friends. This is very challenging and we ask for your trust and understanding during this process.

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.

Sun Safety

Sun block will be available in classrooms but I would suggest applying sunblock to your child in the morning before school as an additional precaution. As I am sure you do as parents, we encourage children to manage themselves when it comes to sunscreen. Our teachers will always give reminders but are unable to apply sun block to their entire class.

A reminder also that it is compulsory for students to have a school sun hat. The NO HAT NO PLAY rule will apply immediately. If children do not have a school hat they will be asked to play in designated covered area.

If your child requires any alterations to the uniform then please write a note to your child's teacher explaining.

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


Year 6 Retreat

Every year, the year 6’s are fortunate enough to be able to participate in a retreat.

This year the Retreat was held at the Cluny Retreat Centre and grounds next door to St Mary's School. The theme for the retreat was 'As You Find Me.' This time around we were blessed to have the NET team teach us about finding ‘who we are’ on their Encounter Day. The NET team stands for: National Evangelisation Teams.

Throughout the day we participated in many fun activities and were taught the importance of being you.

By Milli Banbury

Visiting the Catholic Cemetery

On Tuesday 2nd of November is the Commemoration of All the Faithfully departed (All Souls Day).

It is a special time of year for our school community to remember and pay respects to our past Cluny Sisters. Joining Father Philip in prayer, our Year 6 students represented St Mary's School at the Catholic Cemetery in 18th Avenue.

Praying the Rosary

A reminder that Koralee Brazendale will be leading the Rosary every Monday and Friday afternoon from 2.30pm - 2.55pm in the school chapel.

You do not need to know how to pray the Rosary, just come and listen in. You are all very welcome!

For more information please contact

Tauranga Shoebox Christmas Appeal

Thank you to the 80 St Mary's families who are supporting the Tauranga Shoebox Christmas Appeal. We have received almost half of the showboxes and would appreciate having all of them delivered to school by this Friday, the 5th of November.

Thank you again for your wonderful support.


Speech and Drama Lesson 2022 Forms

Speech and Drama Enrolment forms for 2022 are now available here

Application form for the St Mary’s Catholic School’s Whakamana Korero Scholarship is available here

Speech and Drama lessons are taught by our resident Trinity College Speech and Drama teacher Dee Ellwood. Dee has been teaching for 20 years – seven years at St Mary’s (and she is a St Mary’s old girl!). All areas of the Trinity College Speech and Drama and Communication Skills syllabuses are covered across the year: voice modulation, poetry/prose, characterisation, public speaking, theatre performance, reading at sight, improv, mime and much more. Students have the opportunity to enter Trinity College speech exams, sit in-class exams, perform in the Tauranga Performing Arts Comps and an end-of-year Speech and Drama Concert. Lessons are held during school hours on a Wednesday, four terms. Class sizes are small and places limited.

Enrolments must be into the office asap (latest week 8 of this term), and Dee will make contact with you before end of term. Scholarship applications for Year 6 students are also due by 4th December.

Dramatic News Ahead!!!!

A HUGE congratulations to Milli Banbury, Maebh Manning, Sadie Frank, Caitlin Schofield, Sienna Prince, Esme Holmberg, Eva Phizacklea, Indie Mackenzie, Evie Dumbleton, Mackenzie Jury and Meila Butcher for excelling in their October Trinity College, London Speech and Drama exams with Distinction and Merit. And special recognition to Maebh and Caitlin who topped their grades with 90%. After a year of sorts, the girls persevered and gave their all to preparation. We are so proud of your efforts – well-done girls.

Te Kōpuha Hāpori Murals

Classes have enjoyed watching Alex McLeod, our mural artist, in action over the past two weeks. It is very exciting to see Sister Gabrielle's artwork come to life!

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Diwali is an important religious festival originating in India. Diwali takes place annually and lasts for five days, marking the start of the Hindu New Year. The exact dates change each year and are determined by the position of the moon – but it usually falls between October and November. This year Diwali is celebrated from the 1st to 6th of November. The word Diwali means “row of lights”. During this festival people decorate their homes with lights and oil lamps, called diyas. Diwali is also a time to have fun with friends and family. People exchange gifts and sweets, enjoy delicious feasts and watch firework displays. It’s a time to clean and decorate your home, too.

Some of our students have been busy with Mrs Parry learning more about Diwali. They enjoyed creating beautiful candle holders and rangoli patterns.

Roald Dahl Day

Our Dress Up Day celebration of the 60the anniversary of Roald Dahl's book, James and the Giant Peach was a huge success - thank you for your support today! The costumes were incredible! We had characters from many Roald Dahl classics, including Matilda, Veruca Salt, Mike Teavee and the BFG, to name a few!

Congratulations to all of our Best Dressed characters and to Miss Nowell for her support in organising the event and Tracey Oliver-Marshall for taking photos for us. Congratulations also to Miss Agatha Trunchbull (also known as Joanne Meehan), who took out the Best Dressed Teacher award!


The St Mary's Sunfish win their first game 8 - 3.

The Blazing Batters win their first game of the season

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Sponsor a family's and whānau Christmas Dinner

Catholic Family Support Services. Christmas doesn’t come easy for many families and whanau. You can make a difference today by sponsoring a Christmas Hamper for families, whanau and children going through tough times. Small Hamper—$50; Larger Hamper—$100. Make a pledge by contacting Catholic Family Support Services (07) 856 3760 or Catholic Family Support Services Account number: 02-0342- 0008002-00.

New Zealand Catholic

NZ Catholic are providing, free of charge a digital link to the latest issue. Click here for your copy.


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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

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.

Please support our Gold Group Sponsors