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Bonded by comfort crosses

St Joseph’s School Port Lincoln Year 9 students recently had the opportunity to hone their woodworking skills with the help of teachers and parishioners as part of their religious education program.

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About 20 boys were involved in the ‘Comfort Cross’ project in which they each cut, shaped and carved their own wooden comfort crosses in the school’s workshop.

St Joseph’s religious education and mission leader Kym Rowe came up with the idea after returning from a leadership conference where he was presented with his own comfort cross.

“We have a wonderfully adaptable Year 9 RE team led by Mr Bill Kannussaar who jumped at the opportunity – partly because it fits in so nicely with their Rite Journey program,” said Mr Rowe.

“When a local olive orchard was pushed over, and I heard about how olive wood is great to work with, the opportunity seemed too good to ignore.”

With the help of parish priest Fr Steve Ardill, a group of local parishioners coordinated by Peter McQuillan were approached to volunteer their time to help the students craft their crosses in the school workshop.

“I’m always looking for an opportunity for our students to meet, interact and soak up the wisdom of our older parishioners,” said Mr Rowe.

“The relaxed, gentle atmosphere in the workshop was exactly what I was hoping for, with the parish members and the students all obviously enjoying the experience.”

Four volunteers and Fr Steve worked with the students over four weeks and a final get-together will include a morning Mass with the parish and blessing of the crosses.

Mr Rowe said the project was a wonderful experience for both staff and students.

“I have a strong conviction that when we do menial, almost mindless tasks, is when we open up and communicate in a natural, unforced way,” he said.


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