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Yorke Peninsula celebrates Catholic education


The small farming community at Yorketown gathered to celebrate the 60th anniversary of St Columba’s Memorial School in late September, coinciding with the parish visitation by Archbishop Philip Wilson.

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Located near the foot of the Yorke Peninsula, St Columba’s was established by the Josephites in 1957 to provide a Catholic education to children in the surrounding areas. Today the school is thriving, with increasing enrolments. This year there are 79 students in four classes from Reception to Year 7.

The anniversary events were attended by past and present students, teachers and staff – including some of the original students – and coincided with the final weekend of the Archbishop’s visitation team’s time in the Yorke Peninsula parish.

Events on the Saturday included a school concert – featuring items from present and past students – and a shared meal where many stories were told. On the Sunday, Archbishop Wilson celebrated a Confirmation Mass at St Columba’s, at which 14 children were confirmed.

St Columba’s principal Michael Preece said there was a good turnout for the weekend activities, which highlighted the school’s close-knit community and its strong Catholic identity.

“The school has a very supportive community. The parents see the school as their own and they contribute well to the Parents and Friends committee and the school board,” he said, adding there was a “strong connection” to the local parish.

Parents were particularly grateful to be able to chat with the Archbishop and other members of the visitation team about any concerns they had.

“One of the challenges here is that there is no Catholic secondary option once the students leave. Some go to the local area school, others to the Lutheran school at Maitland which is an hour’s bus ride away, and it only goes to Year 9. Some may then go to Adelaide for Catholic schooling.

“For others, they leave St Columba’s and go straight to Adelaide to board at a Catholic school,” Mr Preece explained.

During the visitation the Archbishop, Fr Marshall, parish priest Fr Christopher Matala, Chancellor Heather Carey and director, Ministry and Leadership, Teresa Lynch also met with several groups, including the Mission to Seafarer’s Centre at Edithburgh, St Vincent de Paul at Maitland, nursing homes in Minlaton, Stansbury, Ardrossan and Maitland, as well as meeting with parishioners and celebrating Masses throughout the parish.

The Yorke Peninsula parish includes St Agatha’s Church, Arthurton; St Bartholomew’s, Maitland; St Brigid, Warooka; St Christopher’s, Ardrossan; St Columba’s, Yorketown; St Malachy’s, Minlaton; and St Margaret Mary, Edithburgh.

In line with the teachings of Laudato Si’, St Columba’s Memorial School strives to be sustainable. It has its own chook shed, aquaponics system and market garden. Students tend the garden, collect the eggs and use the produce for cooking projects, also selling excess goods to parents.






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