Opening of MacKillop Place
Friday 13th October 2017 was an auspicious date to celebrate the opening of the new facilities at St Joseph’s College Lochinvar, the hundredth anniversary of the miracle of the dancing sun at Fatima. The capacity crowd of students, staff, parents, friends, ex-teachers, principals, politicians, architects, Sisters of St Joseph, Diocesan representatives and Bishop Bill Wright gathered in eager anticipation in the capacious auditorium, delighting in the bright and comfortable surroundings that highlighted previous occasions when the vagaries of weather made such assemblies a somewhat precarious affair.
Fittingly, members of the Wonnarua people began the proceedings with a smoking ceremony that called down a cleansing and peaceful spirit on the whole building. The ancient and haunting call of the didgeridoo sent shivers down the spine as the acknowledgement of country was declared followed by the Australian National Anthem. The various speakers who then took the podium highlighted the significance of the history of the building and the role of the various levels of government, the diocese, the school community and friends who had a part in bringing the dream to reality.
Principal Mr Paul Greaves was particularly proud to present a synopsis of the varied activities that had already been tried out in the new facilities. There was a special emphasis on the creativity that was given such free rein in the first class environment with every modern type of technology available. Images of students enjoying the ‘silent’ disco alternated with young chefs in the making and teachers taking full advantage of all the aid that is now available.
Sr Megan Brock was given the honour of opening the building in the name of St Mary MacKillop and she spoke of the four pioneering Sisters who would be so amazed to see what their small beginnings had become. A walk down the central avenue of the school complex could be seen as a compendium of the development that had occurred over the years since their arrival in 1883. The variety of buildings reflected the style of architecture that was state of the art as the decades rolled on but all buildings were but shells without the living spirit of those who lived and worked and were educated there. So this new addition was dedicated to continuing the dream inspired by Fr Julian Tenison Woods and St Mary of the Cross MacKillop.
To complete the opening, the Liturgy of the Word was lead by Bishop Bill who delighted in sprinkling all assembled with Holy Water as the choir lead the singing of the inspiring hymn, ‘At the Heart of Everything is Jesus Christ.’ We prayed that indeed this place might be like the House that was built by Wisdom who invited everyone to come and taste of the bounty being provided and that as the Gospel reading proclaimed, it be built firmly on the Rock who is ultimately Jesus Christ.
To complete the ceremony, the guests were invited to partake of the fruit of the labours of the food technology students who had provided a tasty luncheon that showcased some of the skills they had already learnt in their wonderful new classrooms of the future. We congratulate them on their skills and wish them great happiness and success as they grow in creativity and fullness of life.