Newsletter No 07 25 March 2020

Kia Ora

Dear Parents / Whanau,

In these unprecedented and very challenging times I would like to sincerely thank you, our parent community, and acknowledge your support and cooperation, as we hunker down together to weather the Covid 19 storm. Your willingness to stay calm and trusting of our school staff as we set up our Learning from Home programme has been truly heartening. See below information from the JPC Counsellors that you might find helpful.

Today our Learning from Home programme begins. Teachers have been preparing for their class programme over the last few days. The programme runs for the next 3 days and then, for the following two weeks, all children in New Zealand are officially on school holidays. The Government decided to bring the holiday period forward two weeks. We are still running the Holiday Reading Programme during the school holiday time, so I encourage children to fill out their holiday reading log which has been provided online or children can write the books they have read or the books that have been read to them on a piece of paper. Children can bring their logs back when they return to school.

Term 2 starts on Wednesday 15 April but New Zealand will still be in lockdown so children will continue their learning online. Each class has a class blog and you need to check the class blog for an update of what is happening for your child.

In light of the incredibly rapid developments around Covid 19 in the last few days, it seems hard to believe that we were on camp just last week! Let me take this opportunity to offer a huge vote of thanks to our tireless band of teachers and camp volunteers without whom the camp would not have been the success it was. You were awesome and feedback from the camp has been incredibly positive. Thanks again.

Masses on Sunday will continue to be streamed during the weekends. You can find times on this link:

I will continue to send you a newsletter during the term on Wednesdays. The next newsletter will be Wednesday April 15th.

As we hunker down, keep safe, …….

Kindest regards
David Macmillan

Keeping Cool OUT of School (PartOne)

Here is a collection of ideas from various Mental Health Sources about ways (for whanau, Part 1) to keep on top of stress and tension in our families as we go into Covid 19 lockdown.

  • For parents and caregivers:
    - Remember to take care of yourself first. If you are calm, your family will be calm:
    Get outside
    Find ways to relax
    Eat healthily
    Connect remotely with friends and family
    S L O W down – this is a golden opportunity to take a breather from “normal” day to day life.
  • For your kids,
    - Routine = Consistency = Safety. Establish One!
  • Relax any concerns about academic progress – These are extraordinary times but they will pass and the top priority right now is helping your children feel safe through just being with them.
    Accept that “education” takes many forms and now is a great time for your kids to learn differently. Cooking or baking together, planting some veges, watching a film together, playing board games, walking in the forest, going for a bike ride, is all educational AND great for cultivating FUN and positivity.
  • If you have two adults at home, plan shifts on who is supervising the younger children and share this with the children so you both get a break. If it’s just you, factor in some down time for yourself through your scheduled plan for the children.

Above all, be patient, positive and kind, especially with yourself!

A letter to parents from Bishop Steve


And finally prayers during the Coronavirus Pandemic:
Prayer for those with the Coronavirus, those who care for them, and those who are suffering from anxiety during this stressful time.

A Prayer for Our Uncertain Times

May we who are merely inconvenienced remember those whose lives are at stake.
May we who have no risk factors remember those most vulnerable.
May we who have the luxury of working from home remember those who must choose between
preserving their health and making their rent.
May we who have the flexibility to care for our children when their schools close remember those who have no options.
May we who have to cancel our trips remember those who have no safe place to go.
May we who are losing our margin money in the tumult of the economic market remember those who have no margin at all.
May we who settle in for a quarantine at home remember those who have no home.
As fear grips our country, let us choose love.
And during this time when we may not be able to physically wrap our arms around each other,
let us yet find ways to be the loving embrace of God to our neighbours. Amen.
- Submitted by Fr. Michael Graham, S.J.

The Other Side of the Virus, An Opportunity to Awaken...
Yes there is panic buying.
Yes there is sickness.
Yes there is even death.
They say that in Wuhan after so many years of noise
You can hear the birds again.
They say that after just a few weeks of quiet
The sky is no longer thick with fumes
But blue and grey and clear.
They say that in the streets of Assisi
People are singing to each other
across the empty squares,
keeping their windows open
so that those who are alone
may hear the sounds of family around them.
They say that a hotel in the West of Ireland
is offering free meals and delivery to the housebound.
Today a young woman I know
is busy spreading fliers with her number
through the neighbourhood
so that the elders may have someone to call on.
Today Churches, Synagogues, Mosques and Temples
are preparing to welcome
and shelter the homeless, the sick, the weary.
All over the world people are slowing down and reflecting.
All over the world people are looking at their neighbours in a new way.
All over the world people are waking up to a new reality
To how big we really are.
To how little control we really have.
To what really matters.
To Love.
So we pray and we remember that
Yes there is fear.
But there does not have to be hate.
Yes there is isolation.
But there does not have to be loneliness.
Yes there is panic buying.
But there does not have to be meanness.
Yes there is sickness.
But there does not have to be disease of the soul
Yes there is even death.
But there can always be a rebirth of love.
Wake to the choices you make as to how to live now.
Today ...
breathe, listen, behind the factory noises of your panic-
The birds are singing again
The sky is clearing,
Spring is coming,
And we are always encompassed by Love.
Open the windows of your soul
And though you may not be able
to touch across the empty square...SING!
Written by Fr. Richard Hendrick, OFM, March 13th 2020


The Lenten Season

The Bishops of NZ have made the call to suspend all Masses with a congregation. Cancelling large gatherings will slow the spread of the virus so hospitals are not overwhelmed. Despite not having access to Sunday Mass, these are suggestions from our Bishop. Our students at St Mary’s are well used to practicing some of these.

1. Create a prayer space in your home, maybe using a candle, crucifix or statue.

2. Have an extended prayer time. You may wish to pray the Rosary, read from the Gospels, use a prayer app or whatever form of prayer you prefer. Please remember to pray for the sick and the medical professionals who will face the burden of care for the sick.

3. Links to a videoed daily Mass will be available on the Diocesan website,

"In this time of COVID-19, we pray: When we aren't sure, God, help us be calm; when information comes from all sides, correct and not, help us to discern; when fear makes it hard to breathe, and anxiety seems to be the order of the day, slow us down, God; help us to reach out with our hearts, when we can't touch with our hands, help us to be socially connected, when we have to be socially distant; help us to love as perfectly as we can, knowing that "perfect love casts out all fear."
Blessings, Bernie Hall-DRS

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Winter sports has not be cancelled at the stage and we've been asked to continue with the registration process. We are are in communication with the varying associations and will inform you of any updates as we receive them. Please ensure you are set up to receive our School App Notifications.

Registrations will be kept open until 5pm Thursday 26th March.
You will have to access the registration form on our School Website under the "Our Sports" tab click here You can save a copy of the registration form, complete it, then scan/email it to
If you are unable to fill out the form, please send an email to the above email address with your child's name,age, year level and the sport they want to register for.
Except for Football - this must still be done yourself via the Mycomet website.

Please ensure you have our school app and have set up to receive notifications for the sports your tamariki/children are playing. Instructions on how to do this can be found here.

All sports information can be found on our School Website here - "Our Sports" Tab

Here are some tips & ideas on how to keep active while you're at home. Links & downloads will be available from our School Website under Our Sports.

We have a 28 day Fitness Challenge, those who complete the challenge will receive a certificate and there are prizes available too.
Please click here to access the challenge form.



If your child has achieved something special, sporting or otherwise, please email Leanne with a blurb and photo

Gala sponsorship: Many, many thanks to those who provided some form of sponsorship towards our Gala. Our profit is in the vicinity of $18,000. Pita Pit was able to donate $310 by discounting lunches (only 155 ordered!) . With thanks to one and all.

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Silent Auctions:

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