Everybody desires to have time out from their daily routine, to stop and breathe and engage in activities that help us to recharge, refresh and renew. Our Year 7 students had this opportunity last week with their renewals. The focus of the day was on “Journeys”, with each session enhancing the content students have been covering in their Religious Education classes about life being a journey, both literally and metaphorically.

The students listened about two significant spiritual pilgrimages- The Holy Land and Santiago de Compostela (The Way of St James), they participated in a pilgrimage around St Joseph’s College visiting different significant sites on our grounds and concluded the day with a liturgy in the Chapel, the focus being on the well-known ‘Footsteps’ prayer.

Below some Year 7 students share their thoughts about the day.

Hamish V

Q1. What did you learn?

I learned about the history of our College, Aboriginal plant life, and about different people’s journeys. Some of these facts, in particular, were the history of the Bluestone building (B Block), and how it used to be an orphanage, then was transitioned into a school. Also how names of the region, such as Corio, were derived from Aboriginal names of that place.

Q2. What will you take away from this for the future?

I will take away the religious pathways each person journeys on, whether it be the Camino de Santiago (which was mentioned) or going on a pilgrimage, or even just simply stopping to pray awhile. It all connects back to everyone believing in the same thing, we just choose to show it differently.

Q3. What was your favourite experience?

There were two things for me, the mini-pilgrimage we did around the school and the ability to be able to talk to some of the older boys at St Joey’s. Talking to the older boys was interesting as it enabled me to find out more about the later years to come on my journey. The mini-pilgrimage did about the same, it gave me more insight into a range of subjects such as indigenous flora.

Jed S

The Renewal day was a different learning experience compared to normal school. It was very effective in teaching us the history of our country and also the history of the school and how to be innovative, compassionate, and to behave with integrity. Some highlights of the day were Mr Kennedy sharing his experience of going to see the Pope on World Youth Day twice and when he went on a journey to Kenya to visit schools. We also learned about Ms Roche’s pilgrimage called the Camino de Santiago and what that entailed.

Brock W

On our own school pilgrimage, we visited different areas of the school such as the Tom Howe Centre (B Block) and how it had many different purposes such as an orphanage, a living space and at one point it had been a Gym. We also learned about the meaning behind the Reconciliation Garden and its purpose in the school. We heard about some journeys that Mr Kennedy and Ms Roche went on. Overall the renewals were a great experience because of the things that we learned during the pilgrimage and what we were told in the liturgy. Renewals was a great learning experience and it was a joy to attend.

Global Classroom Partners Program

Over the past two weeks, some of the student leaders have engaged in a virtual conversation with students at Brother Rice High in Detroit, Michigan. The Global Classroom Partners Program links young people from around the world to learn from, with, and about each other, while exploring some of the world’s most pressing issues.

The first 30-minute zoom had students introduce themselves and learn about the world each other lives in. We learned that students at Brother Rice High are part of many extra-curricular clubs, they prayed together as a school twice a day, and then at the beginning of each lesson, as well as loving sports as much as our St Joey’s boys do. The students in the US were interested in the types of dangerous animals we encounter every day, how our canteen system worked and the significance behind saying the Acknowledgement of Country before every gathering.

Last Friday we had our second zoom call, facilitated by Jo Hart from the EREA office. During this zoom, students dialogued about the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) topic or Faith as a Force for Good. The focus became how being of service can be a way in which you live out your faith. Both schools engage in service-learning opportunities, such as Mac & Joes (SJC) and snack packs (Br Rice High, Detroit). The students look forward to engaging in further dialogue in the future about other issues and topics of interest to them from a student perspective.

Students made comments in the chat function highlighting how lovely it was to meet new people who share similar ideas and values:

John Riordan (Brother Rice High)

I really appreciated being able to learn about different service opportunities and how deep the connection is between your school and the service projects you participate in. I also enjoyed hearing different perspectives on how service ties into our Christian faith.”

Zakary E (SJC)

Together it seems that we can make a big difference and do good and I absolutely loved to hear from both sides about what we are doing and what we will continue to do