Bishop blesses schools' new learning spaces


Blessing & Opening Ceremony at Holy Cross Primary Glenwood
Federal Member for Greenway Michelle Rowland (left), Bishop of Parramatta Most Rev Bishop Anthony OP, Mayor of Blacktown Cr Charlie Lowles, Executive Director of Schools Greg Whitby, Blessed John XXII Parish Priest Fr David Hume, State Member for Riverstone John Aquilina and Holy Cross Principal Leanne Nettleton at the Opening & Blessing Ceremony at Holy Cross Primary, Glenwood.

The Bishop of Parramatta, Most Rev Anthony Fisher OP, has blessed the newly opened learning spaces at Holy Cross Primary in Glenwood and St John's Primary in Riverstone.

Blessing & Opening Ceremonies were held on Wednesday 15 September for both Holy Cross Primary's new multi-purpose hall, refurbished learning spaces and amenities and St John's Primary's new multi-purpose learning space.

Holy Cross Primary received $3 million funding under the Australian Government’s Building the Education (BER) Program to build its multi-purpose hall, which will host whole school and community liturgies and large scale creative arts performances. The hall also provides the school with a much needed facility for before and after school care for local families.

Holy Cross Primary also received $200,000 through the National School Pride (NSP) component of the BER. With this funding, the school purchased playground equipment and furniture, installed a shade structure and refurbished its canteen. Irrigation has been installed for the oval and school grounds.

Years of fruitful activities ahead

The new and refurbished spaces were blessed by Bishop Anthony and officially opened by executive Director of schools, Greg Whitby and Federal Member for Greenway, Michelle Rowland.

Other special guests included Leader of the House and NSW State Member for Riverstone John Aquilina MP, Mayor of Blacktown City Council Councillor Charlie Lowles, Blessed John XXIII Parish Priest Fr David Hume, Darug elder Aunty Betty, representatives from Thomson Adsett Architects, Charles Glanville and Herman Keller and representatives from Marc Morabito Constructions, Mark Morabito and Anthony Vella.

During her opening address, Holy Cross’ Principal, Leanne Nettleton, spoke about the possibilities for learning that the spaces would now accommodate.

"Today we have a number of people present who were here at the school when it was first established; when it consisted of temporary buildings," Leanne said. "As they look around today and see what it is like for Holy Cross students in 2010, I’m sure they never could have initially imagined something as beautiful as we have now.

"Today we look forward to conducting years of fruitful activities in all of our learning spaces. Next term, we will hold our first ever creative arts performance in this very space thanks to the funding from the Australian Government."

Before blessing the facilities, Bishop Anthony thanked the Australian Government for its contribution to Catholic education.

"We are so grateful to the Australian Government for its stimulus package through the BER initiative and for all the other support it gives Catholic education on an ongoing basis," Bishop Anthony said.

Increased learning opportunities at St John’s Primary

Blessing & Opening Ceremony at St John's Primary Riverview
State Member for Riverstone John Aquilina (left), St John's Primary Principal Marian Bell, Federal Member for Greenway Michelle Rowland, Most Rev Anthony Fisher OP and Executive Director of Schools Greg Whitby at the Blessing & Opening Ceremony at St John's Primary, Riverview.

St John’s Primary received its $2 million funding under the Australian Government’s Primary Schools for the 21st century (P21) initiative, part of the BER Program.

St John’s Primary’s new multi-purpose learning space will be used to deliver a number of learning activities such as music, dance, drama, indoor sports and whole school ceremonies and activities.

The new learning space was blessed by Bishop Anthony and officially opened by Greg Whitby and Michelle Rowland MP.

Other special guests included John Aquilina MP, St John’s Riverstone Parish Administrator Fr Mathew Anthony, former St John’s Riverstone Parish Priest Fr Arthur Cook, members from the Poor Clare Sisters who founded the school, representatives from PMDL Architecture and Design and representatives from Coleman and Fairburn building company.

'Small but mighty in hope, faith and love'

During her address, St John’s Principal Marian Bell said while the school was small, it would make great use of the space.

"This is a happy day for the community of St John’s," Marian said. "We are one of the smallest schools in the Diocese but mighty in hope, faith and love. There is no way we could have imagined a structure like this for our community and we are already getting good use of this space. We are only limited by our imagination."

Before blessing the facilities, Bishop Anthony thanked the Australian and New South Wales Governments for their support and encouraged them continue to provide funds in accordance with school need.

"Catholic schools have provided quality education for Australian children for more than 190 years. Students in Catholic schools like St John’s receive significantly less funding than government schools," Bishop Anthony said.

"Justice requires funding equity for all schools according to need."

Michelle Rowland was pleased that she could attend the opening and blessing ceremony on her first official day as the new Federal Member for Greenway.

"I received the special gift of a Catholic education," said Michelle, who attended primary and secondary schools in the Parramatta Diocese. "I look forward to working with this community in the years to come."

In addition to P21 funding, St John’s Primary at Riverstone also received $125,000 funding through the Australian Government’s NSP program. With this funding, St John’s landscaped three areas and connected two learning spaces with an outdoor learning area.

The school was also able to upgrade its power supply to better accommodate learning technology.

Visit Catholic Education, Diocese of Parramatta

Visit Holy Cross Primary, Glenwood

Visit St John's Primary, Riverstone


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