Looking back over what has been an eventful term, my highlight has been watching the Tokyo Paralympics. In particular, it was great to see Carey alum Ahmed Kelly (2012) who, after attending and competing in three Olympic games, received a silver medal in the Men’s SM3 150-metre Individual Medley final. Ahmed is the focus of this week’s Middle School chapel video.
The Paralympics began thanks to the efforts of a Jewish refugee from Nazi Germany, Ludwig Guttmann (3 July 1899 – 18 March 1980). Ludwig established the Stoke Mandeville Games, at the Stoke Mandeville hospital, located 60 kilometres north of London, as a way to help paraplegic patients, all Royal Air Force World War II veterans, rehabilitate more quickly and learn to live with their spinal cord injuries. Sixteen veterans in wheelchairs faced off in archery and netball competitions at the first gathering, the latter sport already practised by American returning soldiers; by organising these competitions, Ludwig had unknowingly created a new sporting movement. The ninth International Stoke Mandeville Games, considered the first Paralympic Games, took place from 18 to 25 September 1960 in Rome, six days after the closing ceremony of the Olympic Games. Five thousand people attended the opening ceremony at the Acqua Acetosa Stadium. Twenty‑three nations took part, sending 400 athletes, all in wheelchairs, who competed in eight sports: athletics, wheelchair basketball, swimming, table tennis, archery, snooker, dartchery (a combination of darts and archery) and wheelchair fencing. Ahmed joins the distinct list of great Australian Olympians who have represented us with distinction and honour. Truly Ahmed lives out our school motto of ‘by courage and faith.’ (https://www.paris2024.org/en/the-history-of-the-paralympic-games/)
Whatever form your daily routines take in the coming days, hopefully lockdown will continue to allow you opportunities to show compassion towards others. May the following prayer, which was written in 2020, continue to shape your decision making.
Let us pray.
Loving God in times of uncertainty may we remember your son Jesus who came to be a friend to those living with danger and uncertainty. In our own times as we continue to respond to the challenges of the coronavirus epidemic, to people who are sick, may you bring healing, to people who are displaced, isolated, or cut off from family, friends or work, may you bring comfort and companionship.
Loving God please guide medical staff as they care for the sick, and protect them from harm. Continue to give skill and fruitful research to scientists as they search for treatments, prevention and a cure. To public health authorities, give wisdom to decide the best ways to manage both this crisis and our anxieties. When communities are fearful, give a calm spirit, and help us to display kindness to neighbours and strangers.
Loving God through this testing time, and through all the risks we face together, teach us once again how we can love one another as you have loved us. In all things help us to follow the example of your son who showed compassion to those in need. Amen.
During the holiday break please feel free to email me if I can be of any assistance.
Middle School Chaplain