To commemorate the Canonisation of Pope John Paul II and his connection to the Diocese of Parramatta, Bishop Anthony Fisher OP, has announced that Terra Sancta College will be renamed St John Paul II Catholic College, Nirimba and Schofields from the commencement of Term 3 this year.
The Diocese of Parramatta has a strong connection to St John Paul II. He founded the diocese, when in 1986 he determined to excise it from the Archdiocese of Sydney and make it a new diocese in its own right. A few months later he visited the brand new Diocese of Parramatta as part of his Papal tour of Australia.
Bishop Anthony, who concelebrated Mass in Rome at the Canonisation of St John Paul II and St John XXIII on 27 April, said St John Paul II had made a very significant contribution to Catholic education.
‘It was during his time as Pope and under his authority that the Congregation for Catholic Education published its documents on Lay Catholics in Schools: Witnesses to Faith (1982), Educational Guidance in Human Love (1983), The Religious Dimension of the Catholic School (1988), The Catholic School on the Threshold of the Third Millennium (1997) and Consecrated Religious in Catholic Schools (2002),’ said Bishop Anthony. ‘He will also be long remembered as a great friend of young people and the father of World Youth Day.’.
The charism of St John Paul II is already present in the College’s history and charism. The name ‘Terra Sancta’ means ‘holy ground’ and the school’s motto ‘The Way passes through this land’ comes from John Paul’s own words during his visit to Australia in 1986: Look, dear people of Australia, and behold this vast continent of yours! It is you home! The place of your joys and pains, your endeavours and your hopes! And for all of you, Australians, the way to the Father’s house passes through this land. Jesus Christ is this Way!
‘This is a great opportunity to strengthen the Catholic identity of the College and align the mission and charism of the College to the life and work of this great Pope and Saint,’ said Bishop Anthony.
Co-operating principal of the College, Jim Fanning, said the renaming allows the College to have a patron saint and provide students with a real-life role model to help them in living a Christian life.
‘We will continue to build our charism around the life and mission of St John Paul II who has already influenced so much of what Terra Sancta reflects in name, motto and mission,’ said Jim. ‘Our crest and logo will remain, however over the coming weeks we will begin the process of revising our stationery, signage and other materials to reflect the change.’
‘This will be a transitionary process over time to reduce any unnecessary expense for parents or the College,’ he said.
Executive Director of Schools, Greg Whitby, said it was a welcome and an exciting new era for the College.
‘It’s a rare opportunity to have a modern-day Saint become a patron of one of our school communities,’ said Greg. ‘Whilst we appreciate that a change like this may take some time for the community to adjust to, the spirit of Terra Sancta will live on and be enlivened by our commemoration of St John Paul II.’
The existing John Paul II campus at St Andrew’s College, Marayong, will be renamed St Andrew’s College Senior Campus in order to avoid any confusion between the schools.