School Opening

Cardinal John Dew – Official Blessing and Opening of Our Lady of Kāpiti Parish School and Hall – Speech Notes
Saint Patrick’s Day - Friday, 17 March 2017

This is a day of celebration and thanks, it is fitting that we do this on Saint Patrick’s Day.

The reading from Ecclesiastes told us: “There is a season for everything, a time for every occupation under heaven”. Those words reflect the journey of the school and parish over the last few years. A journey which started as a vision and ended with this wonderful school and, before too long, a new parish Church. In the beginning it was a time to be courageous and creative, to think of the future and move to where the people of Kāpiti were now centred. A time to create a unique identity that is closely linked to the Kāpiti region and the Catholic faith, past, present and future.

The relocation project has come about through the commitment, dedication and generosity of many people - it reflects the spirit and commitment to Catholic faith and education since St Patrick’s School opened in 1954. In the magazine for the 25th reunion of the school it says, “St Patrick’s School at the beginning was simple, modest but certainly ambitious. The foundation stone was laid by seven Sisters from the Presentation Convent house in Thurles, Ireland (Rev. Mother Vianney, Srs M Elizabeth, Columbiere, Consilio, Evangelist, Joseph Mary and Celine). The dedication, courage and tenacious attitude of these Sisters made St Patrick’s what it is today”.

The same can be said of this relocation project of school and parish, a time for envisioning; for creating; for knocking down; for letting go of what was and building anew; of keeping and treasuring; of endurance and commitment of generous giving of time, talent and treasure, a time to rename and renew as the Catholic community of Kāpiti.

The spirit of St Patrick’s, the legacy, history and traditions, are brought to this site under the patronage of Our Lady of Kāpiti. Parish and school will work together to “nurture our full potential” as a high-quality Catholic educational community.

We will soon hear some words of St Paul --words used often for openings, they speak of laying the foundation and everyone working together to create a building. It has taken many people to create what we see here today, each person doing their own particular job, using their skills (the builder; the project manager; the architect; the electrician; plumber; landscape gardener, the list goes on). Many people who have worked generously and tirelessly transporting from one site to the other to create this modern and creative school building and complex.

The buildings are important - but what is essential for Catholic education is the heart of the school - Jesus Christ. It takes many people to grow, develop and educate children. You children are blessed with your family, your teachers and many more who support you to grow and develop your God-given talents. Families and teachers build on this foundation to create a community of believers so that children can learn to “walk the way of Jesus Christ, live the life of Jesus Christ and tell the truth of Jesus Christ”. This is my vision for this school and for all our schools.

This is a time to give thanks – to thank many people, many who have bene involved since the beginning. Fr Michael McCabe and the School Development Committee under Dave Mullin and Dave Meyer, who worked extensively along with Sarita Smit (Archdiocesan Schools Property Advisor), on the school relocation project; Corrine Richdale; the Principal, Martin Elms, and Board Chairperson, Martha Stuart-Berrisford; the Project Manager, Barry Possenniskie and Quantity Surveyor, Dave Monastra; to the Contractor, LT McGuinness and team and the sub-contractors; to the Architect, Celia Goldsmith; the Parish; the Ministry of Education for their assistance, my own Archdiocesan Staff and my Vicar for Education, Mrs Jenny Gordon. Thank you to you, children and families for your extra work and generous support.

It has been an ambitious and enthusiastic project, both in vision and time. It is one which has been a happy one where everyone has worked harmoniously together to create this school and parish site. A school built for 250 students consisting of 10 classrooms and a school hall built together with the school-parish, displaying the stained glass window from St Patrick’s Church, the hall will be used by the parish community until the new Church is built.

As Proprietor of Our Lady of Kāpiti, I now entrust the school to the Board of Trustees under the leadership of Martha Stuart-Berrisford to continue building the foundation for an excellent Catholic education for all the students who come here, an education which places Jesus at the Centre of all we are and do.