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The colour and pageantry was aplenty, as students waved their school flags and banners and entered St Patrick’s Cathedral for the annual St Patrick’s Day Mass. The Mass reflected this year’s Catholic Education Week theme, 'Moved by the love of Christ', and the history and tradition of St Patrick’s Day.
The Mass was preceeded by a procession led by the following seven schools, which are celebrating significant anniversaries this year:
- St Mary's School, Williamstown—175 years
- St Mary's School, Geelong—175 years
- St Anthony's School, Alphington—100 years
- Mazenod College, Mulgrave—50 years
- St John's School, Frankston East—50 years
- St Timothy's School, Vermont—50 years
- St Peter Julian Eymard, Mooroolbark—25 years.
Archbishop Denis Hart was the main celebrant, assisted by Bishop Terry Curtin, Msgr Greg Bennet (Vicar General), Very Rev John Salvano (Dean of St Patrick's Cathedral), Fr David Cartwright (Vocations Director), and Fr John O'Reilly PP.
In his homily the Archbishop encouraged the students to use their gifts and talents. He also spoke on St Patrick's journey and his journey and conversion to a follower of Christ, and how he went and preached in Western and Northern Ireland, an area once considered to be harsh.
Special guests included the Hon. Daniel Andrews MP (Premier of Victoria), His Excellency Mr Breandán Ó Caollaí (Ambassador of Ireland) and Her Excellency Carmel Callan, the Hon. Michael O'Brien MP, Lizzie Blandthorn MP, Ben Carroll MP, and the Hon. Nick Wakeling MP.
The Mass was started with the hymn 'All are welcome', and concluded with the recessional hymn 'This day God gives me’. 'The deer's cry' from St Patrick's breastplate was song as a beautiful reflection after communion.
After Mass, students gathered at the nearby Treasury Gardens for a picnic lunch and concert. They also attended the Young Speaker's Colloquium at the Catholic Leadership Centre to hear about the diverse and unique life journeys of graduates of Melbourne’s Catholic schools.
As part of the program for Catholic Education Week, colour and creativity was also on display at the annual Visual Arts Exhibition, where the best of primary and secondary student art work is being exhibited. The exhibition was open to the general public at the Catholic Leadership Centre, corner of Victoria Parade and Hoddle Street, East Melbourne.