Saints of Ireland – Back to the Well Pilgrimage

Applications for The Saints Of Ireland– Back to the Well pilgrimage are now being accepted. This pilgrimage will experience the key religious and historical sites of Ireland, with particular reference to the sites of those Irish Religious Congregations that came to Australia. Those Sydney Catholic schools with charism related to Irish Religious Congregations are encouraged to apply.

The pilgrimage will start in Glendalough (Valley of the two lakes), before journeying through Athlone, Waterford, Wicklow, Cork, and Killarney, concluding in Dublin. Please click here for a more detailed itinerary.

The application form for this pilgrimage can be downloaded here. Completed applications and Principal’s endorsement, together with a copy of your passport, are to be emailed to Christopher Neaves at by Thursday, 31 May 2018.

Successful applicants will make a $2000 contribution to the overall costs of this pilgrimage. It is also important to note that schools are required to cover release funding from Monday 15 October to Friday 19 October 2018.

Please contact Christopher Neaves on (02) 9568 8118 or for further information.


September  – 2 October 2018

Held in the heart of Jerusalem, the ‘In the Footsteps of Jesus’ study program at the Ecce Homo Institute enables participants to study the Gospel of John with an emphasis on the Jewish roots of Christianity, Jewish feasts, and the first century setting of Gospel texts. Participants will experience modern Jerusalem as the home of Christians, Jews and Muslims.

Click here for further information (do not apply via the linked website)

REGISTRATION: Applications are required. Please complete the application Form below (either word doc or PDF)

CONTACT: Rebecca Ters on 9568 8419 or

Ecce Homo Application (word doc)
Ecce Homo Application (PDF)

St Gertrude’s Staff Spirituality Day

The following photos were taken during St Gertrude’s Staff Spirituality Day at St Thomas Chaldean & Assyrian Catholic Church at Bossley Park.

The theme of the Spirituality day was ‘One Catholic Family – the Eastern & Western Churches’

The staff were engaged in understanding and connecting with the Chaldean Catholic Church. There were parent workshops and guest presentations, as well as sharing in a specially prepared Iraqi lunch.

The Staff celebrated Holy Mass in the Chaldean Rite of the Catholic Church, presdied by Rev. Fr. Joseph Kachappilly.

Timor-Leste – Amy Donnelly

I was fortunate enough to visit Timor-Leste (East Timor) in the July school holidays.

The program was run by Palms Australia. It is their vision at Palms to work towards achieving a just, sustainable, interdependent and peaceful world free of poverty. Palms are determined to exchange knowledge and skills in order to meet the requests of local communities around the world who are seeking to reduce poverty by developing the capacities of their local people.
Much of the aid given by wealthy nations is spent on large infrastructure projects, expatriate salaries and short-term solutions. Volunteering, by contrast, is one of the most effective and sustainable methods for reducing poverty in disadvantaged communities.

Palms Volunteers stay for an average of two years, working side-by-side with local counterparts and sharing the skills that the communities themselves have identified they need.

Timor-Leste is located only an hours plane flight from Darwin. Although it is one of our closest neighbours, Timor-Leste is vastly different from Australia. It is a relatively new country, after an intense struggle for independence from Indonesia and prior to that, Portugal. I was amazed to learn that approximately 45% of the population are under 19, because so many people were killed during this brutal invasion.

During my time in Timor-Leste I travelled around the island to various places including Dili (the capital), Atauro Island, Atabae, Balibo and Maliana. I was able to engage with the beautiful locals and immerse myself in the local lifestyle.

My experience allowed me to appreciate how fortunate I am to live in a country such as Australia with running water, accessible food and education. I plan to reflect upon my experience and work with our school community, especially the students to assist the communities I visited in Timor-Leste in a meaningful way. I hope that the students I work with, as well as my colleagues, will benefit from my experience, helping them to become more aware of a new and different culture.

Amy Donnelly
St Patrick’s Catholic Primary School

Beginning Teachers Retreat

20150527-benedictxvi-threepicvertical-img-lge-1Two First Year Teacher retreats have been completed for 2015, with very successful results. Approximately sixty-five teachers attended the two-day residential retreat in the beautiful surroundings of Benedict XVI Retreat Centre at Grose Vale.

A special presentation was made by Dr Dan White, (Executive Director of Catholic Schools, Sydney) whose presentation was titled ‘Catholic Pedagogy: Nurturing Pilgrims or Educating Tourists?’. Dr Dan opened up the connections between the secular view of pedagogy (add to this the Divine pedagogy) and its relationship to Catholic pedagogy. Dr Dan’s experiences, story and wealth of knowledge gave our teachers valuable insights, which allowed them to further open up during the retreat.

Our teachers experienced a variety of opportunities to reflect upon the theme of ‘Called’. These included input, discussion, reflection, personal time, activities, prayer, the celebration of Mass, adoration of the Blessed Sacrament and Reconciliation. An important aspect of the Retreat was the collegial relationship of colleagues walking with colleagues on their journey with Jesus Christ.

A truly spiritual encounter that left us all being reminded that our calling, our vocation as disciples of Jesus is what its all about. My thanks to Daniella Taranto and Jo Simpson for their assistance as co-facilitators on respective Retreats.