Students at three Catholic schools in the Macarthur officially celebrated more than $21m worth of new facilities when the Bishop of Wollongong, Most Rev Brian Mascord, visited Magdalene Catholic College in Narellan, followed by St Benedict’s Catholic College and St Justin’s Catholic Primary School in Oran Park last Thursday 1 September to bless and open the facilities.
The new buildings at Magdalene Catholic College include contemporary learning areas and a multipurpose hall, equipped with gym and fitness facilities.
St Justin’s and St Benedict’s will share a new multipurpose hall, providing opportunities for students from Kindergarten to Year 12 to gather as one connected Catholic school community.
Director of Schools, Peter Hill, said the new facilities represent Catholic Education Diocese of Wollongong’s ongoing commitment to providing high quality learning and teaching environments and investment in Macarthur communities.
“The incredible growth in this diverse region is set to continue for years. We believe that every family in the Macarthur should have the opportunity to choose the education that’s right for them and their children," he said. “These latest additions mean students will have even more opportunities to grow and achieve their best.”
Matthew McMahon, College principal, said it was great to hear the inspiring words offered from both Bishop Mascord and the Director of Schools at the opening.
"Bishop Mascord and Peter Hill emphasised the rich opportunities that these facilities will offer, and how the classrooms and the multipurpose hall will provide chances for students to utilise their God-given gifts," he said. "I’m very grateful to all of our staff, Catholic Education Wollongong, and our Federal Government for making such projects possible."
When addressing the Magdalene students, Mr Hill told them that their new facilities are world class.
“We have our talented architects and builders to thank, but without you, these facilities are nothing more than their basic materials: tin and timber, bricks and mortar, concrete and steel. You are this school and you bring it to life!” — Peter Hill, Director of Schools
St Benedict’s principal, Kerrie Piatek, said the new College hall that they share with St Justin’s is a fabulous flexible space for assemblies, liturgies, performing arts events, and sports activities that can also double as a wonderful social space for their wider community.
“The hall’s gym and café has allowed us to enhance and enrich the College curriculum,” Ms Piatek said. “Senior students have access to the gym for PDHPE courses and also for personal training outside timetabled hours. In 2023, Hospitality Food and Beverage, a VET Industry Framework, will be delivered using the new café facilities."
While St Justin’s principal, Kevin Devine, said that the shared hall is a place the two schools have come to know to be a space that helps them connect with one another in faith and learning.
During his speech at the blessing with St Justin’s and St Benedict’s, Mr Hill let the students know that they are one of the great success stories of the diocese.
"You are both super-schools when it comes to living the Catholic faith, your learning, and being bearers of Christ’s love in the Oran Park area—which just happens to be the fastest growing region in the diocese," he said. "Nearly 10 years since we moved onto the land where we stand today, I’m delighted that we’ve been able to contribute again to what is already a very special extended school community with the addition of these new facilities."
"I hope this magnificent hall, and all of its facilities assist you to continue being super-learners, to come together more often to embrace, serve, nourish and respond, and you continue to be bearers of Christ's love for all to see."
Magdalene was established in 1999 and now has a student population of more than 1100.
The St Justin’s and St Benedict’s campuses were officially established in 2013. Together they serve nearly 1800 primary and secondary students.