Dean of Identity | Mr Terry Thompson

On the Road to Emmaus

A warm welcome to the final term of the year and good luck to our Year 12 students who commence their last term of high school. I enjoy the commencement of a new term. Not only is everyone rested and full of energy, but the College Leadership Team also get to address each year level in GT125. This week, my address has been centred around the Edmund Rice Education Australia (EREA) touchstone of Gospel Spirituality.

Specifically, I referred to the On the road to Emmaus story in Luke’s Gospel. Post Jesus’ crucifixion, two disciples were walking from Jerusalem to a village called Emmaus. While they were walking and still coming to terms with Jesus’ death, a third person appeared and was walking with them. This person realised they were confused, upset, lost and struggling. This person showed love, compassion, empathy and respect. This person walked with them. This person was Jesus!

Last term, I asked a Year 11 student who his Emmaus person was during the pandemic last year. The person who walked with him in a time of unknowns, struggle and disconnection from school. This student, without a blink, said Waterford Place teacher, Mr Ernst.

Mr Ernst walked with me. He is a man that genuinely cared for the wellbeing of every single person who walked through his door. He had time for everybody. No matter if you were his student or not. He was a man that listened. He never judged anyone but simply offered reassurance that we can only try our best, and sometimes, our best isn’t always good enough. But we are still good people. The fear of what the school day may have brought instantly disappeared when Mr Ernst would simply say 'good morning'. It didn’t always need to be a chat, but his bubbly personality made going to school 100 times easier. Mr Ernst connected me with the school environment at a time when I was lost. He is a man I strongly look up to, a person who is empathetic, respectful and truthful to all.

Post telling the students this story, I asked them to reflect on Term 3. Specifically –

  • Was there an Emmaus person that walked with you when you were confused, upset, lost or struggling last term?
  • Were you an Emmaus person to someone last term?

With the exception of Year 12 students, Term 4 is only eight weeks. Remove the public holidays and the examination period. Students are looking at a six-week term. Scary. Term 4 and the end of the year can bring about feelings of pressure and burnout. It is a time when many people in our community will need someone to walk with them. My challenge to the students this term is: How will they Answer The Call and walk with someone at Terrace? To be like Jesus, a person who walked with the disciples in a time of need, in a time of struggle and in a time of despair? How will they talk the talk and walk the walk to live the touchstone of Gospel Spirituality?

Live Jesus in our Hearts…Forever.

St Joseph…Pray for us.