A special Mass was celebrated by Bishop of Wagga Wagga Mark Edwards OMI in St Michael’s Cathedral on 3 November to mark the Bicentenary of Catholic education in Australia.
After the Mass, Bishop Edwards launched the commemorative book, Our Story: Sowing the Seeds from Generation to Generation, which looks at the history of each school in the diocese and recognises the vision, courage and dedication of the early founders.
It also acknowledges the support of parishes, religious congregations, Catholic leaders and educators involved in Catholic education.
In his homily, Bishop Mark addressed the student representatives gathered and said the commitment to Catholic education over 200 years was “all about you”.
“…we are centred on you and the development of your whole person,” he said. “We want you to be the very best you can.”
He said Catholic schools provide a spiritual enrichment, a spiritual growing… or, as they would have said in the 1850s, a passing on of the faith.
Today, the diocese’s 25 primary schools and five secondary schools educate more than 8,600 students from diverse backgrounds and employ more than 1,500 staff.
In a recorded message played at the commencement of the celebrations, Jacinta Collins said Catholic schools, all across Australia, were built and sustained by the commitment to the Church’s mission of education and through sheer hard work.
“The 30 schools in the Wagga Wagga diocese share this story of determination and the resilience of the clergy, lay men and women, and religious congregations who built and staffed schools through years of great hardship and financial struggle,” Jacinta said.
“As you fondly look back and remember the contribution of those that came before you, I know you will also look ahead with great faith in the future in our shared mission to ensure our schools are places of learning excellence and enriching faith in the service of all students in our care, as evidenced by your recent successful learning fair where all schools participated in celebrating their progress towards excellence.”
WATCH THE RECORDING OF THE MASS LIVESTREAMED AND JACINTA COLLINS’ MESSAGE BELOW:
Photos: Catholic Education Diocese of Wagga Wagga