OPENING DOORS AND BEGINNING THE YEAR
Two significant events concluded 2015 and commenced 2016 for the community of Sacred Heart College, Geelong. In response to the call of Pope Francis in proclaiming the Extraordinary Year of Mercy, the College opened their own doors of Mercy in December 2015. Then in February the College community gathered for the commencement of the School Year.
Opening the Doors
On Tuesday, December 8, 2015, whist Rome slept in anticipation of Pope Francis’ opening of the Holy Door at St Peter’s Basilica, the staff of Sacred Heart College Geelong, together with the our local Sisters of Mercy, gathered at the original entrance to the College, opposite the Grotto.
These doors of Mercy have been opened in Geelong since Mother Xavier Maguire and her companions came to the region in 1859 to establish the Convent of Mercy and the school which became Sacred Heart College. It is these doors that appear on the keepsake given to all staff and students along with the stained glass window at the convent entrance which depicts St Francis Xavier, whose feast day coincided with the day that the Sisters of Mercy arrived in Geelong on December 3, 1859.
These doors, along with the doors at College Reception, painted red to match those of the Mercy International Centre at Baggot Street, were blessed during the ceremony by Rev Allan Ansell reciting the words of Pope Francis, “It is time for the Church to take up the joyful call to mercy once more”.
After passing through the doors to make their way to the College Chapel, the congregation placed photographs of people from within our own community who are in need of mercy or who show mercy on our Mercy Wall. In the Chapel, the Gospel of Matthew 25: 31-40 was read and prayers of intercession focused on justice, dignity and unity.
The celebration concluded with a reflection on Mercy given by Mercy Theologian Elizabeth Dowling rsm and the presentation of an image of the bronze statue of Catherine McAuley to Principal, Anna Negro, a gift from the Sisters of Mercy to the College.
Beginning of the Year
The Maguire Celebration each year is a celebration of the start of the school year, an introduction to the Year 7s and the presentation of the 2015 awards. On Tuesday February 9 the College community gathered and marked the celebrations with a twilight Mass on the College’s senior oval. The warm, sunny evening was shared with 3,500 guests, including students and their families, staff, Sisters of Mercy, Council Advisory members, Alumni and supporters of the school.
The Mass was celebrated by College Chaplain, Fr Kevin Dillon along with Fr Gerard Keith and Fr Linh Tran. Father Dillon spoke to the congregation of the importance of traditions, and of being merciful towards others.
During the service, there was a special recognition of the Sisters of Mercy celebrating Jubilee milestones this year. Sisters Carmel O’Dwyer rsm, former Principal of Sacred Heart College celebrated her Diamond Jubilee and Berenice Kerr rsm celebrated her Golden Jubilee. The Sisters of Mercy in attendance were invited to gather at the foot of the altar whilst Sr Carmel and Sr Berenice renewed their vows. Other Jubilarians unable to attend, but also acknowledged were:
• Elizabeth Dowling rsm (Silver, 25 years)
• Eileen Ann Daffy rsm (former Principal) (Golden, 50 years)
• Trudi Keur rsm (Golden, 50 years)
• Teresa Mahony rsm (Diamond, 60 years)
• Irene Monigatti rsm (Diamond, 60 years)
• Maree Allen rsm (Diamond, 60 years)
At the conclusion of the Celebration, College Principal Anna Negro spoke of the purpose of the evening’s celebration, and the Theme of the 2016 school year “Opening the Doors of Mercy Together” Read her Address HERE.
Messages to: Catherine Middlemiss
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