A 200-year legacy of education
As Catholic education marks 200 years in Australia, the Archdiocese celebrated the momentous occasion in Canberra today.
“We go forward evangelising and proposing Christ, but at the same time we look lovingly back to the great foundations of our faith – the living scripture and our living tradition,” Archbishop Christopher Prowse said at Mass in St Christopher’s Cathedral to mark the occasion. “A major expression of this is Catholic education.”
The first Catholic school in what is now the Archdiocese of Canberra and Goulburn was started in Yass in 1847 by the Sisters of Mercy.
“We can’t forget that over the last 200 years there were largely religious sisters, brothers and priests in Australia and in the diocese that educated us forward,” he said.
“They established a legacy of education with many of them coming from other parts of the world, largely Ireland, and we acknowledge the work they did.”
Director of Catholic Education Ross Fox said it was important to recognise the work and dedication of so many to build and sustain Catholic education.
“Catholic education has a very important contribution to make to Australian society because of our mission to help every student in our schools achieve their full potential,” he said.
“Already this year I have been talking to a lot of staff at our schools about a phrase ‘I can because of you’ that I heard over the holidays.
“I think that phrase denotes the gift that our teachers are giving our students each and every day and are making a real difference to every student.”
The Merici College choir led the congregation in song with Cantor Jessica Morris providing an uplifting rendition of ‘Thy Word’.
Among those at Mass were parliamentarians Senator Zed Seselja and David Smith, director of the National Catholic Education Commission Jacinta Collins, Archdiocesan Catholic support service CEOs, Vicar for Education Monsignor John Woods, religious sisters, and staff and students from archdiocesan congregational and systemic schools.