St Mary’s Catholic School prides itself on a tradition of strong, Catholic identity. The school preserves and fosters an understanding and practice of our Catholic tradition through formal religion lessons, the integration of Christian values into other subject areas and the encouragement to live full Christian lives. Liturgy and prayer is fundamental to St Mary’s sense of Catholic community. The students’ spiritual development is a shared responsibility between the Parish Priest,
Principal, Religious Education Coordinator, staff and parents. Students from Kindergarten to Year 10 participate in Religious Education classes based on the Diocesan program.
Our close proximity to St Patrick’s Church provides numerous opportunities for students at St Mary’s to participate in liturgical events celebrated during the year. These events include the beginning of the school year, Lent, St Patrick’s Day, Easter, Advent, NAIDOC Week, Mercy Day, the Year 10 Graduation Mass and other days of significance. Parents are welcome to attend school masses, liturgies and special religious ceremonies as they occur.
The prayer focus in the foyer of the school features a cross and reflects our Aboriginal history. Examples of prayer experiences are: our School Prayer, class prayer throughout the day and at assemblies, prayer focus tables in each room, staff prayer, prayer before meetings and the teaching of specific formal Catholic prayers in every grade.
The celebration of whole school Masses and Liturgies for special events and on religious feast days is a feature of St Mary’s. These include: the Opening of School and Induction of Leaders, Ash Wednesday, Holy Week, Celebrating the Resurrection, Mission Week, the feasts of St Patrick, the Assumption, Mercy Day, celebrations of class and sectional Masses, Graduation Mass and Masses for Sacramental classes. Student involvement in Parish Masses is encouraged and welcomed.
Retreats/Reflection Days and Sacramental Program
Students in Years 6, 7 and 10 participate in retreat day(s) each year. Year 6 participate in a three day Christian Living Camp in preparation for the Sacrament of Confirmation. These students are given the opportunity to further develop their own faith and to gain an appreciation of the gifts provided by the Holy Spirit. Year 7 students participate in a one-day retreat. This aims to strengthen the ties between classmates and also serves as an induction day for students starting the secondary section of our school. Year 10 spent three days in a similar process of spiritual development. This time is highly valued by students as an occasion to reflect upon their beliefs and to share their gifts and talents with peers.
Both the school and parish work together to provide high quality sacramental programs for Reconciliation, Eucharist and Confirmation. These programs include a mixture of academic and spiritual activities designed to best prepare students for these sacraments. We believe in a holistic approach to spiritual development and there is an expectation of significant parental and family involvement, particularly in preparation for the sacraments.
Partnership with Parish Priest
St Mary’s Parish Priest is Fr Carl Mackander, who is very generous with his contributions to the school. His involvement includes celebrating Masses and Liturgies, providing guidance to staff and students in the preparation of Masses and Liturgies, attendance at all retreats and reflection days, regular meetings with the Religious Education Coordinator and attendance at P&F meetings.
The Religious Education Coordinator attends Professional Learning and Spiritual Days. Staff attendance at In-Service days throughout the year (as offered by the Diocese) is encouraged. Professional reading and appropriate websites are continually disseminated to the staff by the Religious Education Coordinator and Parish Priest.
Students are provided with activities that raise awareness of social justice issues through:
School Masses and Liturgies at St Patrick’s Church
Mother’s Day Mass
Father’s Day Liturgy
Feast Days, NAIDOC
Retreats and Reflection days
Religious Education Program
Community Outreach – Maranatha / Caritas / St Vincent de Paul