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Beginning of School Year Mass

Our school and parish community celebrated Mass on Friday to mark the beginning of the school year and the investiture of staff and student leaders. Thank you to all of the parents who attended and to the children and staff for a beautiful Mass.

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St Columba Primary School's Bunjil Opening Ceremony

This year to mark the beginning of the school year, the school community created Bunjil’s nest as a permanent reminder of their commitment to educating themselves on First Nation’s rich history and culture.
Bunjil is particularly important to First Nations people as he is the spirit creator of country. The school’s Bunjil’s nest is made of stickers found within the local area. Every stick has a child’s name written on it and then we have an extra eight special sticks to represent each year level and the staff. These sticks were added to the nest today and the nest itself will remain in our indigenous front garden.
A beautifully illustrated Acknowledgement of Country was also created by the children.
Congratulations to the staff, children and families for a beautiful ceremony to start the 2024 school year.

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A week in the life of our Parish

Parish BBQ, Community Carols Concert and End of School Year Mass & Graduation

The biggest Parish BBQ so far was held last Sunday and the Brazilian BBQ’ers outdid themselves and created a feast for the 80 guests. A very special thank you to Jeferson and our wonderful Brazilian community who organised and cooked the BBQ. Thank you also to everyone who came along and made the delicious salads and desserts.

Our Community Christmas Carols Concert last Monday night was a beautiful event. The narrated Christmas story was highlighted by wonderful singing from our Choir. Congratulations to the Social Committee, in particular to Adrian and to the outstanding Choir, led by Silvana.

60 guests from across Melbourne joined this special evening. Thank to everyone who volunteered and attended.

Congratulations to our Grade 6 children who graduated at the End of School Mass on Thursday night. A huge thank you to all staff, particularly Jane Dixon for their wonderful support of the children.

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One of the organisers and all round legend, Adrian..JPG
Jeremy, one of our narrators.JPG
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St Columba Primary School

End of School Year Celebrations

On Wednesday, our school community celebrated all things Christmasy with carols, a BBQ and a visit from Santa.  Congratulations to the children and a big thank you to Steph and Chris for supporting out little starts.

At the last assembly for the year, the Grade 6s were farewelled. They spoke about the different experiences they've enjoyed at St Columba and gave thanks to all the teachers and support staff who have helped them along the way.

The Grade 5 children then spoke about each of the Gr 6s and the great memories they have of them. We wish them all the very best as they embark on their secondary school adventure.

A very special thank you to our Grade 6 teacher, Jane Dixon.

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Remembrance Month

For Remembrance month this year, we have designed a Remembrance card, using the image of the wooden sculpture that hangs in our Memorial Area at Sacred Heart. These are available at the back of each church, and you are welcome to take one home, or write a message/names of your loved ones and place them in the basket provided. At Sacred Heart, this basket is in the Memorial Area and at St Columba, this is under the Cross at the side of the altar. We have also put out the Memorial Book, where, if you have not previously written the names of your loved ones, you can do so now. At every Mass in November, we will be offering up the names listed in this book. Finally, we have complied the funeral booklets of previous years into little books, and laid them out in either the Memorial Area (Sacred Heart) or next to the Memorial Cloth (St Columba) and you are welcome to view these.  
You can also email the name and message for your loved one if you are unable to attend mass.

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Granparents and Special Friends Day at St Columba Primary School

A highlight in our St Columba Primary School year is the annual Grandparent and Special Friends’ Day. It was held on Friday and it was wonderful to see so many people turn up for the special assembly and morning tea. Thank you very much to all the children and staff for all their preparation and presentations. The assembly finished with a rousing rendition of “I’m a Believer” for the grandparents and special friends.

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Official Opening of Sacred Heart Mission's Campus of Care

On Friday, 6 October, The Campus of Care was officially opened completing a massive redevelopment of the Mission over a six-year period. Earlier this month the Mission celebrated the completion of the multi-stage redevelopment with staff, volunteers, clients, supporters and neighbours. Hang Vo, CEO of the Mission said: “I would like to express my deepest gratitude to the many people at the Mission and beyond who believed in our vision of a connected service hub for people experiencing homelessness and disadvantage – and who helped us bring it to life…  The completion of the Campus of Care on the corner of Grey and Robe Streets in St Kilda transforms our operating environment into a cohesive and connected hub of support that improve the quality of life for people experiencing homelessness and disadvantage

The ‘campus of care’ with its fit-for-purpose buildings provides a better quality of service for our clients and improves that sense of community and belonging – everyone has access to the care and service they require. By providing a greater range of accommodation and care support we can also prevent the need for premature entry into residential aged care services and have a positive impact on the number of older Australians living in unsuitable housing or on the street.”

The campus integrates the broad range of services we offer into a coherent precinct, improving the quality of life for our clients and increasing people’s sense of community. It includes: 

The 97-bed aged care home ‘Sacred Heart Community’ 

A redeveloped Wellness Place  

The updated Women’s House  

An administration building 

14 self-contained, independent living units located in the former Sacred Heart Primary School, now known as ‘99 on Grey’. 

Visit the Sacred Heart website: www.sacredheartmission.org to view a video on the opening ceremony.

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General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops

The General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops began on Wednesday, 4 October. It is to be a global gathering of bishops and laypeople to discuss the future of the Catholic Church and for the first time women and laypeople can vote on specific proposals alongside bishops, a radical change that is evidence of Francis’ belief that the church is more about its flock than its shepherds.
Pope Francis asked Fr Timothy Radcliffe, an English Dominican friar, to lead a retreat for bishops and participants taking part in one of the most important global Church gatherings for decades. Fr Timothy presented five ‘Retreat Meditations’ and they are well worth a read.

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Parish Concert for Timor-Leste students

How blessed are we to have incredibly talented musicians in our parish willing to donate their time and musical gifts to support those in need.  In addition, how thankful we are for all the parishioners who came to support this wonderful cause. Seventy parishioners and family members of musicians came last Sunday to raise money for our two parish-sponsored educational scholarships for disadvantaged youth in the remote region of Lospalos in Timor-Leste. We were overwhelmed to find that, unexpectedly, through this one event we had raised the entire amount for a year. Thank you to all who came, who donated money, who brought items for afternoon tea, who set-up, who packed up and who provided lifts to those who needed it. 
We welcomed Br Michael Lynch, Salesian who talked about their work in Timor-Leste, crucial to rebuilding this nation. We also were privileged to have some people from Timor-Leste join us, expressing their gratitude for our assistance.  As Pope Francis said last week in Mongolia, “Even though a community might be small, this love can be a powerful witness.  ‘God loves littleness, and through it he loves to accomplish great things”. And that we did!

The Musicians

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The organisers

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Afternoon Tea

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Katia Mestrovic

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Musicians Jeferson and Marcelle

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National Child Protection Week 4-9 September

Child Protection Week is a national campaign held each year to raise awareness of child-abuse prevention in our communities. In 2023, the overarching message that ‘Every child in every community needs a fair go’ will be complemented with the theme ‘Where we start matters'.
The Community Jigsaw - a framework for strong, supportive, child-inclusive communities.
The idea to use a Community Jigsaw during National Child Protection Week came from a 9-year-old girl who pointed out that “A community is like a puzzle, you need to have all the bits to make it work.”

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Parish Safeguarding Weekend

2 / 3 September 2023

Each year around Child Protection Week and Safeguarding Sunday, our parish celebrates its Safeguarding Weekend.

Our Parish has always taken the safeguarding of our children, young people and vulnerable adults extremely seriously and to be more than just administrative compliance. We live out the call to be a haven for all and ask you all to join with us to make some practical commitments to this.

At all masses this weekend Fr John will ask all volunteers to read the synopsis of our Parish Code of Conduct and to sign the Declaration (last page). The Code clearly specifies the intention and practice that each and everyone of us needs to take to care for and protect all in our community.  A full copy of the Parish Code of Conduct and other important resources are available on the Keeping our Community Safe page on our website.

We join together to honour the call to protect those most vulnerable and commit ourselves as a loving faith community through this humble dedication.

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Social Justice Sunday

About Social Justice Sunday and the Bishops Social Justice Statement.

With a tradition stretching back to 1940, the Australian Bishops Conference contributes to the development of local Catholic Social Teaching by releasing a major social justice statement each year in the lead up to Social Justice Sunday, which this year falls on Sunday 27 August. These statements encourage the Catholic community to reflect and act on the social, economic and ecological aspects of the Church’s mission.

The title of the Social Justice Statement 2023-24 is Listen, Learn, Love: A new engagement with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples. It includes experiences and views shared by the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Catholic Council (NATSICC) and calls for the Church – and society more widely – to listen to, engage and address the pain of First Nations Peoples in new ways, in order to bring an end to centuries of injustice.

The Bishop’s Social Justice Statement discusses the upcoming referendum regarding Indigenous Constitutional recognition through a Voice to Parliament as an important moment for Australia as we listen to our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander brothers and sisters on this important decision. The Statement encourages Catholics and wider Australia to seek out and carefully consider information about the proposal, with special reference to the hopes and aspirations of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples.

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Get in touch to find out more about prayer services at Catholic Parish of Sacred Heart and St Columba.

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Parish Movie Night

The movie night was very well attended. We filled all but 1 or 2 seats - about 54 tickets.  Everyone mingled and caught up in our private foyer before the film. Armed with refreshments and snacks we settled in to our private cinema to watch Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny. Thanks to all who generously donated tickets to allow others who might not have been able to come, assisted with giving people lifts to the cinema and to Adrian for his amazing spreadsheets and organisational skills which helped us to ensure the night was a success.

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Get in touch to find out more about prayer services at Catholic Parish of Sacred Heart and St Columba.

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Celebrating Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Sunday (ATSIS)

A New Life in Christ: Uniting as One People on ATSI Sunday. Each year, Catholics from all corners of Australia gather on ATSI Sunday to celebrate the unique gifts and contributions of Australia’s First Peoples. 
This year’s theme, “A New Life in Christ” reflects the hope and promise of a brighter future, rooted in unity and shared commitment to positive change. As we commemorate this special day in our Liturgical Calendar, we are invited to listen to the voices of our Indigenous brethren and walk alongside them on a journey towards progress. ATSI Sunday symbolises our unity as one people in Christ.

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Feast of Sacred Heart

On Friday we celebrated Sacred Heart Day at Sacred Heart Church with the theme “Hearts That Hear The Voices of the Voiceless”. A wonderful local music group, ‘Beaut Fun Ukes’ started the celebration and were fantastic. Hang Vo, CEO spoke about the importance of hearing of all voices and being true to your own voice.  Bern, Isabella, Rosie and Scarlett from St Columba primary school read out a wonderful acrostic poem reflecting on what ‘Sacred Heart’ means to the school. Santi, a lifestyle worker at Sacred Heart Aged Care Community read out some wonderful comments from the residents, including the one from David “the priest is good, he has empathy, he says good prayers … that’s why he’s the priest”. Here here David. The final powerful presentation was from Yu, a participant of Sacred Heart Mission and one of our parishioners. Yu spoke of the significant difficulties in her life that saw he come to SHM and of the wonderful welcome and support she has received. “They are my family”, she said. Thank you very much to everyone involved, with special thanks to Karen Englebretsen

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Feast of St Columba

We held a special 105th birthday celebration on Friday 9 June, the Feast of St Columba. Our school community joined us for a lovely mass to celebrate 105 years of St Columba Primary School. Our school families were asked to bring along a flower and these were then arranged into a magnificent birthday bouquet. Thank you very much to Saskia for organising this. We were delighted to welcome a special guest, SHM CEO Hang Vo, who spoke to the children about ‘Hope’ - the 2023 school theme. Hang was presented with a book, one of many that had been donated by school families for the residents of Sacred Heart Community.
After mass, celebrations continued at school with cake and a special treat, a ‘Gaga Pit’. For everyone, including us, who didn’t know what that was - it’s a bit like dodge ball, and the children had a ‘ball’.

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Honouring our Volunteers.
Our volunteers are vital, vibrant and valued.

At masses on 27/28 May we honoured and celebrated our volunteers.

A Prayer for our Volunteers


Loving God,

We give thanks for the Spirit of care blowing gently

through the hearts of our volunteers,

as they contribute their time, their gifts, 

their skills and their friendship 

across the vast array of ministries in our Parish.

Through their generous hearts, we are able to 

create and maintain a safe and inclusive place of belonging

that welcomes, enables, befriends, and accompanies those in need.

We honour their life-giving service with our

gratitude and respect.

We ask your blessing upon them as they continue

to witness through the compassionate heart of

your Son, Jesus.

Amen.

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Confirmation 2023

On Thursday evening 1 June, Bishop Tony Ireland and Fr John Petrulis celebrated Confirmation for 27 of our school and parish children. It was a beautiful service and we give thanks to all involved.

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Soup-a-Sweet
Our Dine with Heart fundraiser

On Sunday 28 May, our social committee hosted a wonderful Dine with Heart and Parish fundraiser. There was a lovely atmosphere and people were happy to mingle and perhaps sit with people they did not know, which is the whole point from the social aspect. After a 3 years hiatus because of COVID, people were openly happy about finally being able to come to a community event such as this in the hall. Thank you very much to our organising committee for all their hard work and for all those who made the soups. It was wonderful to have so many people contribute desserts also and their helping hands when needed. 

A total of $1150 was raised which is a terrific effort.


Thanks one and all, without you, it would not have been such a successful event!

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Honouring our Volunteers.
Our volunteers are vital, vibrant and valued.

At masses on 27/28 May we honoured and celebrated our volunteers.

A Prayer for our Volunteers


Loving God,

We give thanks for the Spirit of care blowing gently

through the hearts of our volunteers,

as they contribute their time, their gifts, 

their skills and their friendship 

across the vast array of ministries in our Parish.

Through their generous hearts, we are able to 

create and maintain a safe and inclusive place of belonging

that welcomes, enables, befriends, and accompanies those in need.

We honour their life-giving service with our

gratitude and respect.

We ask your blessing upon them as they continue

to witness through the compassionate heart of

your Son, Jesus.

Amen.

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Literacy Open Morning at St Columba Primary School

On Friday 26 May, St Columba held a Literacy Open Morning. Parents and grandparents joined the children in their classrooms.
Annie, a delightful new student, laughed  at knowing more about spelling than her mum.
Thank you to everyone who was able to attend and to the students and staff.

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Celebrating Mother's Day at St Columba Primary School

A very special day in our school calendar.

Mothers and special friends were treated to a beautiful breakfast hosted by one of the wonderful school families. We were all then treated to a brilliant assembly filled with beautiful, poignant and funny messages from the children, a beautiful blessing and two wonderful singing / dancing performances, one organised for the Gr 1-6s by our Performing Arts teacher, Steph, who attended on her day off with her gorgeous baby Rosie.

Thank you everyone involved.

A Blessing for our Mothers


May your heart be filled with boundless love and unwavering strength,

As you navigate the beautiful journey of motherhood.

May you find comfort and support in the community of mothers and women around you,

Sharing stories, laughter and tears knowing you are never alone.

May your days be filled with joyous moments and treasured memories,

As you nurture and guide your children, shaping their lives with love and care.

May you find balance amongst the chaos, embracing both 

the challenges and triumphs.

And may you always trust in your intuition.

May you find time for self care, honoring the woman within the mother,

Knowing that your wellbeing is the foundation on which 

your family thrives.

May you be a source of inspiration and empowerment,

Teaching your children kindness, compassion and the 

courage to chase their dreams.

May your resilience shine through in the hard times

And may you be appreciated, celebrated and loved.

Today and always may you be blessed,

For the immeasurable impact you have on the world, 

through the love you give.

Amen

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Easter Triduum 2023

Holy Thursday at Sacred Heart Church this year was an intimate and solemn celebration of Christ's last supper. It was wonderful that we were able to once again return to the symbolic ritual of the washing of the feet. It is the first time we have been able to practise this beautiful action of service since the pandemic. Lovely that Christine thought to provide individual towels so we could do this in a Covid safe way. The washing of the feet is a very real reminder of Jesus's humanity and his humility before his disciples who he was entrusting with carrying on his ministry well after he was gone. We also returned to our tradition of turning down the lights of the church at the end of mass and lighting candles. We processed down the main aisle following Fr John carrying Jesus's body, symbolically represented in the bread which he placed on the cross. During the singing of Bless the Lord, Ubi Caritas and O Christe Domine Jesu, we brought our candles to the cross and stayed for the watch. This moving reflection is reminiscent of Jesus praying in the garden of Gethsemane.
Indeed, it was a wonderful evocation of the beginning of the Triduum - the major feast days which lead up to the celebration of Easter. As always, I was thankful to be present for the very devotional way in which our parish remembers Jesus's last evening with his disciples.
Antonietta (Toni Vatta)

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Holy Thursday

Friendship Fair at St Columba Primary School

On Thursday 6 April, St Columba held their Friendship Fair. It is one of the most popular events of the year. Each class organised or made something to sell to the other students. Think cupcakes, books, lemonade, a lucky dip, fun games or getting your hair sprayed in a bright colour. All of the money raised goes towards Caritas Australia. Congratulations to our wonderful children and the hardworking staff. We wish them all a safe and peaceful Easter and school holidays.

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St Columba Primary School Marqt

Every year on the Sunday before the Easter holiday we organise a market & fair especially for children, age 0-12Y.
Last Sunday 2 April, 600 people joined in the fun! The sun was shining and our school community put on a wonderful event.
Activities for the children (young and old) included:
Children's Flea Market, by and for children
The free Easter Egg hunt and special guest, the Easter Bunny
Becky Bubble - she made giant bubbles and taught the children how to make their own.
Congratulations to the organising committee, to all the volunteers and a special thank you to Bendigo Elwood Community Bank who sponsored the Marqt.

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Free Easter Egg hunt with special guest, The Easter Bunny

Becky Bubble

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Parish Ten Pin Bowling

On Sunday 26th March, twelve of our parishioners headed down to Zone Bowling in Moorabbin for a fun afternoon of ten pin bowling. Whilst we had a few seasoned players (not looking at you, Dom and Lina), some were complete novices and then some of us had only played a handful of times or were a bit on the, shall we say, "rusty" side. Nonetheless, we didn't shame ourselves. In fact all of us improved our scores by the second game. We had a lot of laughs. All in all, it was a very enjoyable afternoon. 


This was the first activity of the year organised by the Parish Social Committee. We have more events planned for the year if you were unable to come to bowling and we would love to see you come along. Our next event is on Sunday the 28th May at 12.30pm. It will be our Dine with Heart luncheon . This is our annual fundraiser in support of both The Sacred Heart Mission and our parish. More details to come. In the meantime, please save the date!


Antonietta (Toni)  Vatta on behalf of the Parish Social Committee.

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Bowling Team 1

Bowling Team 2

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Bowling Team 3

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Bowling Toni

David bowling

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Cathie in action

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Harmony Week at St Columba Primary School

Harmony Week is the celebration that recognises our diversity and brings together Australians from all different backgrounds.
It’s about inclusiveness, respect and a sense of belonging for everyone.
Harmony Day.
The children celebrated Harmony Day on 21 March 2023 by wearing orange or clothing from their culture. They also bought in food from their different backgrounds and celebrated with delicious morning tea.

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Morning tea from around the globe

Special guest, Bishop Tony Ireland

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St Columba Church gets a Spring clean in Autumn

Thank you to Mahtab, Lou and our Brazilian Crew, comprising Jeferson, Lucas, Mizela, Cesar and Carla for the three hours they spent giving St Columba Church a deep clean last Saturday. We searched and eliminated dust from the top of the statutes to the skirting boards and everywhere in-between. We sneezed, laughed and sang along to hymns (Brazilians always insist on music!) and by 6.00 p.m. everyone had washed up, ready for Mass. Not content to sit back on his laurels, Jeferson gave the Lenten presentation on what quenches his thirst for faith, in-between playing the piano! Mahtab, Mizela, Carla and Cesar also took on some Mass ministry roles. Rumour has it that after Mass, the Brazilians went on to an ‘after party’, at which a lot of wine was consumed!
Thank you to all who have been speaking at the Masses, we will have a little round up of their presentations when all are done.

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Parish Retreat
18 February 2023

How wonderful it was to gather once again as a community for a parish retreat on Saturday 18 February. This is something we have not been able to do since the Covid pandemic hit us with a mighty thud in 2020. Some 26 people from the parish came to St Joseph’s Conference Centre in Port Melbourne to participate and what a heart-warming experience! Fr John welcomed us with his usual warmth and fervour for what was to be a restorative day. He noted that in some ways calling it a “retreat” was a misnomer as really it was a way for us to come together, to share our gifts, our thoughts and our ideas communally rather than in an individual, introspective way. Indeed, that was certainly the spirit of the day. Jane Sims led the Welcome to Country. Sisters Karen and Emily soon had us singing along to “This is the Day” accompanied by their valiant efforts on the guitar. It set the tone for the spirit of thankfulness that we felt for the blessing of being able to share this day. In prayer, we called on the Holy Spirit to renew us, to “help us to relish what is right” and “always rejoice in the Lord’s consolation.” 

Excerpt of a Reflection by Antoinetta (Toni) Vatta. You can read the full reflection here. 

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Listening

Our resident harpist, Katia.

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Beginning of School Year Mass 10 February 2023

Our beautiful school community gathered together to celebrate the beginning of the 2023 school year and to warmly welcome the new children and staff who have joined St Columba this year, especially the wonderful new Preps.
The Grade 6 children were presented with their leadership badges and the staff were commissioned with a special prayer.

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