I feel that Edmund Rice Day this year encapsulated everything it means to be an Aquinian.

In the morning, the boys heard from various guest speakers from different organisations that embodied the Edmund Rice charisms of Spirituality, Leadership, Charity, Service and Community. I was fortunate to hear from Brother George Massay, who represented the Edmund Rice ministry in Tanzania and appeared via video call. I also got to see Damian Walsh speak about his experiences running Shopfront, a Catholic aid organisation for the homeless and disadvantaged. Brother George and Mr Walsh ensured everyone left the College Hall with a profound understanding of what it means to get an Edmund Rice education. They taught us that with privilege comes the opportunity to give back to our communities in an impactful and lasting way–a message I took to heart. Another tenet of our Edmund Rice tradition – our Catholic faith, shared with our founder himself – was also observed, with the boys celebrating the Eucharist in the Chapel of St Thomas Aquinas.

Despite the discouraging weather in the morning, the boys emerged from their respective venues to a beautiful sunny afternoon. They capitalised on the terrific weather throughout the rest of the day, enjoying the various stalls and activities each tutor group had established (though perhaps a bit too much, as our stitches on the track would soon reveal) before heading off to cross country. It was heartening to see everyone band together in the last hours of the day, in what I believe to be a quintessentially Aquinian way, to help clean up the inevitable rubbish and cheer each other across the finish line.

I thoroughly enjoyed Edmund Rice Day this year and can't wait to see what next year brings.

  • Matteo Conte, Yr 10

The 5th of May each year is a special occasion to pause and celebrate – the Feast Day of Blessed Edmund Rice. Over the last 200 years, Br Rice has changed so many lives around the world, some by his intervention into their disadvantage, and others by his example that inspires so many to follow in his footsteps. For all of us at Edmund Rice schools such as Aquinas College, Edmund’s life and witness has changed our lives in countless ways - we owe him so much. We marked the day at Aquinas with a full day of activities, fun, prayer and community. Every boy experienced a unique blend of a Feast Day Mass, guest speakers with stories from the field and dozens of student-led stalls.

With heart-warming stories and delightful photos coming in from around the world, it is clear that Edmund Rice Schools and Ministries across the planet celebrated the day well. We acknowledge that this is also a particularly significant day for the vowed members of the two Congregations Edmund founded. We hope that amidst the whirlwind of the occasion these men, those who willed these schools and ministries into being, found time for some silence, some time for satisfaction and pride in the inspiring lives they have led. Yet we feel deeply that our annual Feast Day is not simply a time to look backwards in time, to honour, appreciate and venerate – it is also a powerful catalyst for looking ahead with a renewed hope for a more just future and a renewal of our commitment to being part of the realisation of this vision.

In countless ways, across the day, Aquinas College staff and students took up the opportunities to be of service to and with each other. It was, after all the planning and staging, the atmosphere on the day that made it something special. As one Christian Brother explained to our students, ‘Brother’ is intended to be a verb. Br George was adamant that it is not intended to be a title, but rather a description of a relationship, an orientation in the world that calls us all to be brother and sister to each other and all that we encounter, especially those in need. This is our founding charism, this is who we are called to be in the world in ever new and contemporary ways. Once again, the Feast Day of our founder, Blessed Edmund Rice, has reminded us of this. We are grateful for this timely reminder and proceed with a renewed clarity.

  • Richard Mavros, Director of Justice, Advocacy and Formation