Advent – End of Year

Advent Prayer

God of hope, who brought love into this world,
be the love that dwells between us.
God of hope, who brought peace into this world,
be the peace that dwells between us.
God of hope, who brought joy into this world,
be the joy that dwells between us.
God of hope, the rock we stand upon,
be the centre, the focus of our lives
always, and particularly this Advent time.


Advent is the season of hope, joy and new beginnings. It is a season when we prepare for the coming of Our Lord, Jesus Christ. This is the time when our saviour is born, and we have much to rejoice. Advent is also intended to be a period of preparation, and we celebrate the resurrection of Our Lord every Sunday.

A way to prepare for Christmas is to use the ‘wreath’. The circle of the wreath, which has no beginning or end, symbolises the eternity of God, the immortality of the soul, and the everlasting life we find in Christ.

The first candle, which is purple, symbolises hope. It is sometimes called the “Prophecy Candle” in relation to the birth of Christ. The second candle, also purple, represents faith. It is called the “Bethlehem Candle” as a reminder of Mary and Joseph’s journey to Bethlehem. The third candle is pink and symbolises joy. It is called the “Shepard’s Candle,” and is pink because rose is a liturgical colour for joy. On the fourth week of Advent, we light the final purple ‘Angel’s Candle to mark the final week of prayer and penance as we wait for the birth of our Saviour.

In more modern times, a white candle (‘Christ Candle’) is placed in the middle of the wreath and lit on Christmas Eve. This represents the life of Christ and purity.

This week, we united in a ‘Gratitude’ Mass. It captured the sentiment of appreciating kindness and its effect on others. I want to express my deep gratitude for all that has been provided for the education of our students this year.

Our College Community continues to flourish, offering enriching learning opportunities. Our LIFE week served as a reminder of our connection beyond these walls, reaching into the wider community, enabling students to embrace our changing world. It is a massive operation and I thank the staff for providing and leading the experiences for the students.

Collectively, our HCC staff forms a united front, committed to your growth and success that is commendable. Teachers and leaders work tirelessly to ensure planning and delivery is efficient. Not a week goes past without a school event and many staff members go beyond the expectations of their roles.

Our College has picturesque grounds, that transform into learning landscapes, thanks to our grounds and maintenance staff who take great pride in their work. 

The welcoming atmosphere of our CAFÉ, and the Learning Resource Centre, led by passionate individuals, have added value to your educational experience and our workplace. Thank you to our teachers and Education Assistants whose impact on your learning journey is immeasurable. Their dedication and responsiveness have facilitated your growth in order to ‘have life to the full’.

Our Wellbeing, IT, Finance, and Administration, ensure our College’s efficiency, in your ability to access your educational pathway here.

Our relationship with the Parish remains strong, where we celebrate faith and embrace John 10:10’s message of ‘Life to the Full.’ Fr Bona reminds us of the importance of happiness and meaningful interactions with one another. Our College Patron, Oscar Romero, serves as an inspiration in advocating for this justice and peace.

Thank you to our students who continually create a culture of learning and caring for others, who are inclusive and have empathy for others, who want productivity and peace, for you are the change makers. You can make a difference to others.

As we step into the Advent season, we prepare our hearts for the forthcoming anniversary of the Lord’s birth. This time symbolises prayer and reflection. It aligns with the spirit of HCC, where we nurture not only academics, but also the values that enrich our lives.

We have some staff members on leave for the whole of 2024. At this time, these staff members are intending to return to HCC:

Susan Wilson – CEWA Careers consultant

Julia Waller – Aranmore ESL Language Centre

Tanya Holland – Assistant Principal St Peter’s Bedford

Anne Mariner – Teacher at Chisholm Catholic College

Rochelle Carter – Leave

Clare Rosman – Leave

Daniel Gevaux  – Leave

Cassandra Bull & Arabella Adeline will be on leave for part of the year. We will miss these staff members and hope that the experiences they gain will benefit Holy Cross College, when they return.

As this year draws to a close, we bid farewell to some members of our staff that have enriched our lives here. Farewell to:

Junior School Staff

Lynda Gorton  – Education Assistant

Jessie De Leon   – Junior School Teacher

Tiala Papali  – Junior School Teacher

Ariana Rosso – Junior School Teacher

Aoife O’Connell (Hickey) – Junior School Teacher

Maddison Allis – Junior School Teacher

Jay Bui – Junior School Teacher

Secondary Staff

Monica Giora  – Italian Teacher

Liam Smith  – Learning Area Leader / Health & PE

Mark Potts  – Inter-relationships Leader

Leigh Willison  – Sports Coordinator

Rachel Whan  – Learning Area Leader / Science

Fiona De Courcier  – Inter-Relationships Leader Claire Merry

Michelle McGuinness  – Teacher

Melissa Carrara  – Sports Coordinator / Learning Area Leader / HPE

Matt Smyth  – Inter-relationships Leader

Jake Rowlands  – Teacher

Jamie Gotti  – Teacher

Tracey Trist – Teacher

Ben Bull  – Deputy Principal – Faith

Thank you to these staff members, for all they have contributed to the College and the differences they have made to the lives of our students. We wish them well on their new journeys. Our staff will be individually farewelled next week.

Thank you to all the families that attended our annual Christmas Carrols evening this week, the event was a great success and there was a wonderful sense of community on the night. A special thank you to the Friends of Holy Cross for their organisation of the night and to Ms Waters, Mrs Sloper, Mrs Gale, Mr Hall, Junior School Teachers and the College Grounds staff for all they did to make the night a success.

May the holiday season ahead be safe and enjoyable. As we celebrate Christmas and embrace the New Year, let us remember the strength we find in unity and the joy we bring to each other’s lives. Thank you for your dedication in making HCC the incredible community it is. We will return in 2024 with new beginnings and the House Patron focus on Salvado, however I will end with a quote from Frederick Ozanam, our House Patron for 2023 – “Do not be afraid of new beginnings, be creative, be inventive.”

May the Lord bless you abundantly, and I wish you a holy and memorable Christmas and a joyous New Year.

Ms Julie Hornby