200 Years of Catholic Education in Australia

Students from St James the Apostle, St Francis of Assisi, St Clare’s and Thomas Carr College attended 10:30am Mass on Sunday 23 May to mark 200 years of Catholic Education in Australia.

The Religious Education Leaders from the four schools organised the Mass and each REL spoke about aspects of Catholic Education today and in the future.

It was wonderful to see so many families participating. The Church was at its COVID capacity and the overflow filled the Paulist Centre where the Mass was live streamed.


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Almighty and all-loving God, with gratitude for the endeavours of Catholic education in the past, with confidence in our Catholic pre-schools, schools and universities today, and with faith in their continuing contribution in the future, we celebrate 200 years of Catholic education in this Great South Land.

As our Heavenly Father, we thank you for your providential care for your children in this land in inspiring priests, religious and lay people to found and staff our schools in ages past. Through them the Good News of your Son was brought to the young even in colonial times – and ever since.

As Christ the Teacher, you grace the staff and leaders of Catholic education today. As they build on the achievements of their predecessors direct them in their present efforts to ensure that every young Australian has the opportunity for an excellent education and formation in faith.

As our Inspiring Spirit, you lead us into the future. In the century ahead grant those teaching and learning in our schools, those planning and leading, and the families and community that entrust their young people to us, a love of learning and a willingness to be the face of Christ in the world of tomorrow.

Pour out your abundant blessings upon all involved in the ministry of Catholic education. Amen.

Our Lady of the Southern Cross – pray for us. St Mary of the Cross MacKillop, Patron of Catholic Education in Australia – pray for us.


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Congratulations to the recipients of the Joseph De Piro Award for 2020:

Rachael Glowacki—St James Primary
Grace Choate—St Francis Primary
Rhys Are—St Clare’s Primary

Thank you to the MSSP for their generosity and support. The Scholarship is for $1500 each and will be used for the continuation of their Catholic education at Thomas Carr College.

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We have three wonderful Catholic schools that cater for Primary school students within the Parish of St James the Apostle.
The three schools are:

St Clare’s Catholic Primary School
130 Marquands Road, Truganina Phone:9371 8400

St Francis of Assisi Catholic Primary School
45 Fairview Parade, Tarneit Phone: 9749 9900

St James the Apostle Catholic Primary School
330 Derrimut Road, Hoppers Crossing Phone: 9749 1000

The schools are zoned and this can be found on the school websites.
Places for 2021 are filling fast so we ask families to contact the school in your zone by calling or sending an email. The Parish of St James the Apostle is committed to ensuring that a place will be found for Catholic families in one of our three schools.

Fr Jude Pirotta
Parish Priest
St James Parish


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We greeted our Prep – 2 students back on Tuesday.  It was wonderful to see the smiles on their faces as they were dropped off. Later in the morning I visited the P-2 home groups to welcome each of the students back to school and what amazed me was how well they transitioned back into onsite learning.  I put this down to the relationships and connections to St James that were maintained over the past six weeks when the staff held an online meeting with the students each morning.  The sad part at the moment is not being able to spend time with families and having them in the grounds as part of the St James community.  We are looking forward to the whole school being together on Tuesday 9 June, 2020. I would like to take this opportunity to thank the staff at St James who have worked hard this term with remote learning to provide the best possible learning for the students.

Mary Abbott, St James Primary Principal

We are excited to be back on site and welcoming our youngest members of the community. Our P – 2 students have settled back in well at SFA.  Lots of bright, smiling faces and eager children ready to start face to face learning again.  We are looking forward to June 9 when all our students will be back with us.  The SFA staff have risen to the occasion during remote learning and in the transition back to site.  We are blessed and proud to have staff who are capable, confident and do their job with enthusiasm and positivity which has made this term an experience like no other, but also a great success.

Michelle Gillett, St Francis Primary Principal

‘It was wonderful to see the happy and excited faces when the children in Years Prep, One and Two returned to St Clare’s Catholic Primary School on Tuesday. Happy and excited faces on the students, parents and staff!  The students and staff have settled back very quickly into learning routines.  The normal practice for drop off time in the morning has worked well with students arriving at a steady flow.  We have also been pleased with how well the staggered pick up times in the afternoon have worked.  Thank you so much to parents and families for your support and cooperation. Wwe have had the vast majority of students in Years Prep – Two in attendance.  Remote learning continues for Years Three – Six until they also resume learning onsite on Tuesday, 9 June.

Andrew Leighton, St Clare’s Primary Principal

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If your child is due to begin Prep next year, you are welcome to enrol them into one of our three parish primary schools. Enrolment packs are available from the school to which you are zoned. To obtain a pack, contact:

St James the Apostle School on 9749 1000 or

St Francis of Assisi School on 9749 9900

St Clare’s School on 9371 8400

Once restrictions are lifted, we will be inviting families to visit our schools in action. Keep watch for dates of these Open Days and tours.

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Dear Parish Family,

I trust, through the grace of God that this letter finds you well. Given the enormous changes that we are living through, I must acknowledge that as a priest, I have never experienced a more difficult time, especially the suspension of public Masses and parish gatherings.

The current situation presents all of us with many challenges that through our daily prayers and our trust in God, we will see come to an end very soon. May we use this time after Easter as an opportunity to ask God’s guidance, protection, and blessings to end the spread of this deadly virus. Several weeks ago, our schools resumed with our teachers doing an amazing job preparing for online learning and preparing for the small group that need to come to school. Red, Tita, Angel and Maria, are working from home and alternating their days at the parish office. I certainly miss the daily encounter with all of you, but this current arrangement of distancing and restrictions will come to an end and when that does happen, I plan for us to gather both for the celebration of Mass and for catching up with friends once again. I take this opportunity to thank our school principals and all our school staff for their commitment towards our children.

Parents, may I acknowledge the challenges confronting you with at home and back to school learning and with everything else that goes with it. True we cannot get to our church worshipping centre at this time, in the physical parish sense, but the life of the Church is present in your families, in your household and in your circumstances, no matter what that might be, being part of the Body of Christ and part of your life at the moment. Please note that we do miss you and long to be reunited with you when all this passes. Here at St James the church building extensions continue, as we look forward to its completion later in the year.

The Corona Virus, dear friends, has helped us, families, school teachers and students, realise that churches are not being closed; buildings are being closed, we are the Body of Christ! The gospel is not constrained by quarantine, because Jesus is bigger than Corona Virus! God can, and is, moving powerfully during this time; our challenge is to prayerfully discern where the Holy Spirit is moving and then go there and join in the work.

Some ways in which we, as a parish, have been serving the community have been:
• delivering groceries and medicines;
• dropping off parish bulletins for people unable to manage the internet;
• advertising support to parishioners struggling with anxiety and loneliness or young children and those in self-isolation;
• making care calls;
• ministering to families and our youth, as they experience long days at home;
• remaining connected by using the Zoom platform for many meetings;
• setting up online faith sharing;
• communicating to the youth and young adult groups, and
• offering online Masses.

We have been overwhelmed by the generosity of so many parishioners ministering to us at this time with food drop offs

I think that when the dust settles, we will all realise how very little we need, how very much we actually have, and the true value of human connections. I thank Fr Silvio and Dcn Royden for their invaluable support and outreach to the community at this time, and all the facilitators of our ministries.

God bless you all.

Go gently, stay safe and keep smiling!

Fr Jude Pirotta mssp
Parish Priest

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