Presbytery to be re-vitalised

The derelict St Vincent’s presbytery, next to the church, is to be given a new lease of life as a Jesuit school for Aboriginal children, it was announced during the week. The article in Province Express is reproduced below.

This posting by Danny Gilbert on CathNews expresses support for the initiative far more eloquently than the Church Mouse could manage:

The much loved Fr Ted Kennedy made St Vincent’s Redfern, especially the Presbytery, a place of welcome, refuge and unconditional love for the poorest of Aboriginal people. For many years, Ted shared his home with these people. All were welcome, no questions asked and, at times, it was a great many.

Ted took the Church to a place where she had not previously been and his story must never be forgotten or overlooked.

I welcome the Jesuits to Redfern and wish them every success with the Jarjum School.

I urge them to always recall Ted’s legacy with the words of W. B. Yeats:

I have spread my dreams beneath your feet;
Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.

Jesuits to open new school in Redfern

A new, tuition-free Jesuit primary school for Aboriginal children is set to open its doors in Sydney in 2011, providing disadvantaged children with a quality, holistic education which responds to the needs of local families and draws from the students’ own culture.

The abandoned St Vincent’s Presbytery
site of the Jarjum School.

The Rector of St Aloysius’ College, Milsons Point, Fr Ross Jones SJ, says that the NSW Board of Studies has granted initial registration of the school, and the City of Sydney Council has also approved the development application for the refurbishment of the presbytery at St Vincent’s Catholic Church in Redfern, where the school will be housed.

Named Jarjum – which means ‘children’ in the Aboriginal Bundjalung language – the school will be sponsored by St Aloysius’ on behalf of the Jesuit Province.

‘The formation of children in this school will be intensive and holistic’, said Fr Jones. ‘Jarjum will be for children who need it most, those experiencing greater disadvantage, those who, through no fault of their own, have slipped through the system.’

‘Since the earliest days of the Australian Jesuit mission there have been Jesuits working alongside aboriginal people. St Aloysius’ has enjoyed a recent history in that ongoing relationship in Redfern. We hope to continue that partnership – learning to serve and serving to learn.’

Fr Jones says the project will embrace before-school care, including breakfast where necessary, lunch and after-school activities such as sports, clubs and tutoring. Individual pastoral care will include the students’ personal, emotional and physical well-being, including regular health checks in association with the neighbouring Aboriginal Health Service.

‘The school will at all times endeavour to respond to local needs in the context of the students’ own culture in terms of its mission, policies and curriculum’, Fr Jones explains. ‘This mission is to draw from, and share with, its students and their families the very best spiritual ideals and moral values, knowledge and learning skills, discipline, and character formation, thereby providing its graduates the opportunity to pursue the best secondary education and lives which will subsequently be fulfilling and liberating.’

Government funding, corporate sponsorship and donations are now being sought for a Jarjum Foundation. For more information contact St Aloysius’ College on 02 9922 1177

By Catherine Marshall, Province Express 07-Jul-2010

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