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Salisbury's vibrant community on show

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It’s been a period of “learning” not only for the young students but also staff since the Alive Early Care and Learning Centre at Parafield Gardens opened its doors earlier this year.

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As part of its visitation to the Salisbury parish in August, members of the Archdiocesan team spent time touring the centre and participating in activities with the children.

“We’ve all been learning along the way,” centre director Janine Griffin told the team.

“It’s been a good opportunity over the past eight months for us to develop programs. We are working to create a welcoming and embracing environment where parents and children can feel part of our wider community.”

Holy Family School principal Kerry White said children at the co-located Alive centre spent time visiting the school so there could be a “seamless” transition. Already some of the centre’s first “graduates” had moved the short distance to Holy Family to start Reception at the mid-year intake.

Mr White added that the school also opened its doors to the wider community through two playgroups that are held in the school hall each week. About 30 children attend each session, he said.

At the visit Administrator Delegate Fr Philip Marshall commented on the “beautifully set out, engaging and inviting space” offered at Alive and commended the staff on their work.

Together with Teresa Lynch and Denise Ritzema from the Office for Renewing Parishes, Fr Marshall took part in the Friday afternoon prayer circle with the children and then enjoyed an afternoon tea of scones that had been baked by the students earlier.

During the ‘long day’ on August 9 members of the team – which also included acting chancellor Sarah Moffatt and deacon Tim Grauel – spent time at Thomas More College, Holy Family and St Augustine’s schools, meeting with staff and students and also hearing from principals, school leadership and chairs of the boards.

The visitation included meetings with pastoral, liturgical, apostolic and youth groups, and spending time with the Burmese and Filipino communities.

Time was set aside for discussions with clergy and the Canossian Sisters, whose ministries include pastoral care and support of school and cultural communities as well as community-based nursing.

Commenting on the visitation, Fr Marshall said Salisbury had a “vibrant Catholic community” and the team appreciated the warm welcome it received from parishioners who “lovingly and respectfully” refer to their parish as the “biggest and the best”.

“The parish is blessed with talented musicians and singers and at each of the six celebrations of Eucharist (on the first weekend) across three worshipping communities (St Augustine’s, St Finbar’s and Holy Family), our praying was deepened as the choirs led us in spirit-filled singing (#2 Gospel pathway).

“Parishioners are embracing the opportunity to live out their baptism through many ministries (#7 Gospel pathway); by way of example, the Saturday evening Mass on any given weekend involves some 35 parishioners in the preparation of the Mass and celebration of the liturgy, not counting the 10 or more young musicians VA Utopia, who led us on Saturday evening with a mix of energised and reflective hymns,” he said.

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