College Updates: Week 8 - Term 1
Greetings your Eminence & fellow AFC Family! I pray and hope that you're coping well & families amidst this turbulent period caused by the outbreak of COVID-19.
The outbreak of the Coronavirus as you know is like a tsunami that hits every shores, locally and globally. Fortunately, there's no confirmed case in Tonga, YET! But its impact has invaded and pervaded every corner, every turn, and every fiber of our very human existence.
Schools in Tonga continue to operate and we've been urged to cover as much as possible as far as the syllabus is concerned before a positive Corona diagnosis is confirmed in the kingdom. The Ministry of Education has gone further to suggest that school hours should be extended to 4.30 PM. However, it needs to be widely discussed with all stakeholders before such a change may be implemented.
Impact on Sports:
The Hon. Minister of Education has declared that the Inter-Secondary Athletics' Meet that was supposed to be held on 21-24 of April is now deferred to the 21-24 of November, to be held after the public exams. Even this decision needs to be meticulously discussed. After the external exams, the standards of discipline and focus of students will drop dramatically. Given the history of violence between schools in Tonga this is a critical one.
On Wednesday morning at 5.30 AM I led the last Zumba with the athletes at the Hall (p 019)! At 6 in the evening we had a Thanksgiving Mass (p 015) followed by a shared meal together with the parents (p 016). This is a fitting way to conclude the camping of the Squad. It was a wonderful occasion to acknowledge their sacrifice and commitment to the college. I often remind the athletes that what they're doing is much more than just fitness and skills. Indeed, it is preparing and molding them for the life-long journey ahead.
Ongoing Construction & Reconstruction Works:
The Science Labs' roofs are now complete (p 008) and thus the Leo Group will now focus on the inside and corridors.
The Ca'Bella contractors have completed the rafters & purlins of the 3 new classrooms (p 019). I was informed by their Boss this morning that they will put up the roofs today.
This means that both the construction and reconstruction works by the two contractors are on schedule.
RIP Fr. Taukei'aho Tuli:
On Tuesday all priests in Tonga joined His Eminence, Cardinal Mafi, in celebrating the requiem Mass to farewell our beloved brother-Priest and friend, the late Fr. Taukei'aho Tuli (p 001). The Mass was held at the St. Michael Church at Lapaha.
Fr. Taukei was only 50 years old and so a timely lesson to all of us priests to look after our health. It's heartbreaking to lose such a gifted and fine priest. Requiescat in Pace.
With the COVID-19 knocking on our doors, here's an inspiring prayer that may resonate with you in this turbulent time:
PRAYER IN THIS TIME OF CRISIS
Almighty and all-merciful God,
lover of the human race, healer of all our wounds,
in whom there is no shadow of death,
save us in this time of crisis;
grant wisdom and courage to our leaders;
watch over all medical people
as they tend the sick and work for a cure;
stir in us a sense of solidarity beyond all isolation;
if our doors are closed, let our hearts be open.
By the power of your love destroy the virus of fear,
that hope may never die
and the light of Easter, the triumph of life,
may shine upon us and the whole world.
Through Jesus Christ, the Lord risen from the dead,
who lives and reigns for ever and ever. Amen
Holy Mary, health of the sick, pray for us.
St Joseph, guardian of us all, pray for us.