Praise and celebration filled St Joseph’s Cathedral in Rockhampton as a congregation of around a thousand, comprising priests, religious, civic leaders, Catholic Education staff, students and families gathered for the state launch of Catholic Education Week 2019.
Hosted in Rockhampton for the first time, the launch commenced with Mass led by Most Rev Mark Coleridge Archbishop of Brisbane assisted by Most Rev Michael McCarthy Bishop of Rockhampton and priests from throughout the Diocese of Rockhampton.
A moving liturgy brought to life by a 90-voice choir accompanied by 30 musicians provided an uplifting and joyous celebration for all gathered and for many more watching on livestream throughout the state.
Following Mass Queensland Catholic Education Commission (QCEC) Chair Hon Margaret White AO gave the official welcome.
QCEC Executive Director Dr Lee-Anne Perry AM introduced the Spirit of Catholic Education Awards which were presented to 10 recipients from throughout Queensland for outstanding contributions to the life of their school communities.
Rockhampton Catholic Education Director Leesa Jeffcoat AM said the celebrations were a truly fitting way to mark Catholic Education Week in Queensland.
“The memorable liturgy set the scene for a celebration where all that is positive, life-giving and faith centred about Catholic Education from Kindergarten to Year 12 was well and truly showcased,” Miss Jeffcoat said.
One of the highlights of the ceremonies was a choir of 60 Prep students from across the Rockhampton Region.
“The Preppies enthusiastic performance of “God is Great” with accompanying actions prompted older primary and secondary students and other members of the congregation to join in,” Miss Jeffcoat said.
“We were delighted to host the launch this year in Rockhampton on behalf of the 20 000 staff and 149 000 students in our Queensland Catholic schools and to welcome representatives from each of the five dioceses in Queensland,” Miss Jeffcoat said.
The Catholic Education Week candle was ceremoniously passed to Brisbane Catholic Education Director Pam Betts as the 2020 launch was due to be hosted in the Brisbane archdiocese to mark 175 years since the first Catholic school opened on what is now the site of the Myer Centre in the heart of Brisbane.
Held annually Catholic Education Week provides an opportunity for all 306 Catholic schools in Queensland to celebrate and promote their distinctive mission and ethos to their school and wider communities.
Schools and colleges throughout the state held a wide variety of activities and events under the 2019 theme Many Voices. One Spirit.