Steve Ruddy:Thank you very much to our performers. Can I please invite Vashti Borthwick to lead us in our acknowledgment of country?
Vashti:We would like to acknowledge the elders past, present, and especially our local elders Aunty Lynn and Uncle Mark of the Gubbi Gubbi people. The traditional custodians of the land that we are gathered on today. We pay our respects to their elders and leaders past, present and future, and give thanks for the way they have cared for and occupy this land for generations. As a college community we seek to walk in mutual respect, honour, and spirit of reconciliation.
Steve Ruddy:Thank you, Vashti. I would now like to invite Ann Rebgetz to the podium for her welcome. Thank you.
Ann Rebgetz:Good morning, everyone. There are many people who are with us today who share a special working relationship with the college. None more so than those who were involved in the external planning and the construction of our Celtic centre. I would like to take this opportunity to thank and acknowledge all of their contributions.
First of all of Opus Architecture Lindsey Mack and Tim Braig in particular. Although, they’re not here with us today they were very involved with the design. Bryant Queensland and we have Matthew Cooper represented with us here today. Matthew and Bryant actually built the building. We had the original shell but our changes to the original shell were quite massive so thank you. I’ll talk a little bit more about that later on.
School Development Services with Brisbane Catholic Education and welcome to Mr David Cashman, our Area Supervisor and representing Brisbane Catholic Education here today. We also thank and acknowledge Mr Jerry Conway and Rick Dalmeau who were very much involved in this project.
Our Chief Financial Officer, who is very important to help make it happen, Rudolph Wolbers. This is a self-funded project so in terms of that we had to set up our funding and take out a loan to be able to do what we have done in these buildings.
I especially wish to acknowledge our Facilities And Enterprise Manager Mr Pat Green and Business Manager Ms Heather Depasquale and all the teams around them in terms of their efforts in bringing the dream of our Celtic Centre into a reality.
The college would not be here where it is today without the support of our Pastoral Board. I welcome Mr Martin Jonkers and Mr Steve Ushay who are on the board and also our parents and friends association represented by Steve and Mr Mark Ford and Jenny Butler and others who are here today.
I’d also especially like to welcome Aunty Lynn and Uncle Mark, our traditional landowners and great supporters of the college. We’re really thrilled that you could be here. Congratulations to Vashti who is in year 10 at the college and also a descendant from the Gubbi Gubbi people herself and doing that for us today. Vashti, I think we can give you another round of applause. For those who are interested and follow Rugby League in Queensland, Vashti’s uncle was Artie Beetson. You may have heard of Artie. I could just pick up some of those movements there as probably being very strongly genetic.
Councillors Riddell, Councillor Adam Hain, and Councillor Savage and Flannery distinguished guests, staff, and students, I know we have Mr Warren Irvine here, Principal of Grace College, and Mr Mark Shakhovsky Principal of Secondary at St Eugene’s.
Our representatives of Rotary. Thank you very much for coming. Rhianna as President of Rotary, Hannah, who is representing TAFE, and our representative from the University of Queensland. Adam, I think, isn’t it? Also, just looking around here I see Councillor Riddell. I hadn’t spoken to you yet. I did mention Councillor Adam. It’s really lovely to have everyone here. And of course, Father Wrex. A big welcome to you, Father Wrex.
I’d also like to acknowledge in the thank yous our staff in terms of there’s a row at the back here who had a huge input into the design of the building and you have really spent a lot of time in cultivating the pedagogy that we’ve incorporated into this centre, which we called a STEAM centre, which stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics. All of those, our lovely students would know that straight off. The concept of that was to bring the visual arts and the industrial technologies together. This is our construction court. Later on do a little bit more talking about that.
I’d now like to welcome Father Wrex in leading us in our blessing and liturgy this morning. Thank you, Father Wrex.
Father Wrex:Thanks, Ann. This might sort of seem like a bit of an overlay on the reality of what’s really about education. I don’t think that’s the case. I’ve been confirming young people just last weekend. We celebrated the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit. All of which have to do I think with what’s happening here. The seven gifts, wisdom, understanding, counsel, knowledge, fortitude, piety, and a sense of wonder.
I think when we come here that’s part of the reality of what we celebrate here today. Not least of all is courage. That’s the courage to step outside the square and say, “What can we do that’s different?” We come here recognising the underlying richness of what this day is about and recognising that whole sense of wisdom that has very much been celebrated throughout history in all cultures as being at the core of what it means, the sacredness of life.
We come together in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. May God the source of all wisdom, Christ the Lord, his word made flesh, and the Holy Spirit, the spirit of truth, be with you all.
Let’s join together in praying this prayer as we ask God to look upon this endeavour and bless it in its future. Let’s pray together. Creator God, be with us today as we come to celebrate the blessing of this new building. We ask that you inspire all those who are hearing community to share their creativity and talents and to use them to draw ever closer to you. We make this prayer through Jesus, our teacher, and your son. Amen.
Ryan’s going to share the first reading with us.
Ryan Ogroniczek:A reading from the letter of the Colossians 1:9 to 12. We can endure whatever it comes being rescued from the power of darkness. For this reason since the day we’ve heard it we have not ceased praying for you and asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of God’s will in your spiritual wisdom and understanding so that you may lead lives worthy of the Lord and fully pleasing to him as you bear fruit in every good work, as you grow in the knowledge of God. May you be strong with all the strength that he comes through the glorious power. May you be prepared to enjoy everything with patience while joyfully giving thanks to the father who has enabled you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the light. This is the word of the Lord. Thanks be to God.
Steve Ruddy:Please stand for the gospel.
Ann Rebgetz:A reading from the Holy Gospel according to Luke. Once while Jesus was standing beside the Lake of Gennesaret and the crowd was pressing in on him to hear the word of God. He saw two boats there on the shore of the lake. The fishermen had gone out of them and were washing their nets. He got into one of the boats, the one belonging to Simon, and asked him to put it a little way out from the shore.
Then he sat down and taught the crowds from the boat. When he had finished speaking he said to Simon, “Put it out there into the deep water and let down your nets for a catch.” Simon answered, “Master, we have worked all night long but have caught nothing. Yet, if you say so I will let down those nets.”
When they had done this they caught so many fish that their nets were beginning to break. They signalled to their partners in the other boat to come and help them. They came and filled both boats so they began to sink. When Simon Peter saw it he fell down at Jesus’ knees and said, “Go away from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man.” For he and all who were there were amazed at the catch of fish that they had taken. Also with James and John, sons of Zebedee, who were partners with Simon.
Then Jesus said to Simon, “Do not be afraid. From now on you will be catching people.” When they had brought their boats to shore they left everything and followed him. This is the gospel of the Lord.
Father Wrex:When I was a young fellow growing up I would have thought that steam had nothing to do with school. As a matter of fact, steam was what you let off when you left school.
In those days, the science was a fascination with what they could do with hops, technology was coming to terms with how the remote worked on the TV, engineering was keeping your first car running and on the road, art was carrying on a conversation when you had a couple more to drink than you should have, and mathematics was knowing the return you’d get if you backed the favourite in the last for $5 at nine to four.
A very different reality from what we face here today. Things have changed a lot since then and thank God for that. Just exactly how much has it changed? Some 30 years ago I was doing some adult faith education around the archdiocese when we used to hold the courses in various venues. A particular night’s class was in the school library.
Setting up I noticed on the overhead projector, which some of you may remember, there was a transparency, which I picked up to put on the trolley that was underneath. For some unknown reason I stopped and looked at it. It gave me a piece of information I wasn’t aware of. What it said is, “If you’re over the age of 40 half of the world’s knowledge has been discovered since you left school.” Not in your lifetime but since you left school.
If that was the case 30 years ago, how much more now? The old days of thinking you knew everything because you’ve been fishing for a long time like Simon Peter is surely gone. Our knowledge continues to grow and our understanding continues to grow. We’ve hardly scratched the surface of knowledge. We know little about the universe. We know little about our world. We know little about ourselves. Yet, we think we know a lot about all those things.
We are progressing and each small step is a step into deeper and more surprising knowledge. That grows across the board. That’s why it’s so great to see the integration of disciplines and the ways our schools are embracing them.
When I went to secondary school there was a science language stream and there was a humanity stream. Never the twain shall meet. My subject options were dependent on the class I was in rather than the future I was heading for. I must admit I never cease to be astonished by the number and variety of options that are available to students today. Not just within the college ground but also by outsourcing to other institutes to provide the greatest range of possibilities for students to prepare for their future.
I’d like to congratulate Columban’s on keeping alive that spirit of wonder and awe in facing the quest for knowledge that Paul talks about in the first reading. Also, for the genuine and creative attempts to integrate the variety of disciplines which are involved in the educational endeavour today. May this step along the road of your response to that challenge just lead you into further innovations, which will make the education of our students creative, enjoyable, and most of all effective.
I’m going to invite the Middle Phase captains to come forward and lead us in prayer. Gathered here in the spirit of Edmund Rice and trusting in his intercession, we place our prayers before our loving God.
Chelsea Aranovitch:We pray with gratitude for the vision of Edmund Rice who saw the need for education for the poor and marginalised. He founded the Christian Brothers, who later undertook the task of educating boys at St Columban’s College in Brisbane. We thank them for their unique involvement with the students in their care and for the legacy of the Catholic and Celtic understanding of spirituality. Lord hear us.
Crowd:Lord hear our prayer.
Breanna Skinner:We pray for the students and staff of St Columban’s College. May they be inspired to use their talents and gifts to make a positive difference in the world. Grant us the gift of compassion and inspiration to reach out to those in the world who suffer from poverty and oppression.
Father Wrex:Lord, our God, we stand before you. We raise our hearts and our needs before you this day. We make these prayers and the prayers in our hearts through Christ our Lord.
Steve Ruddy:I would like to now invite to the stage our teachers who play an instrumental role in leading our young people through the creative and construction process. Please welcome Rachel Carr, the Curriculum Leader for the Arts, Tony Green, Design Living Technologies and the Celtic Centre’s Assistant, Branden Laurie, Digital Technologies Teacher, Bob Oxley, Engineering and Materials Teacher, Amanda Schimke the Design and Living Technologies Curriculum Leader and the Manager of the Trade Training Centre and Rachel Warnes also Engineering And Materials Teacher. Rachel.
Rachel:The foundation of the creative process is that everything created by God is good and nothing is to be rejected, provided it is received with grace.
Tony:It needs to be realised that what is creative, works of art, music, scientific inventions, digital media, design process and construction, make for the whole of humanity.
Branden:What we typically see as creative and what creative is all about are the products of the unfoldment of our creative spirit given to us by God.
Bob:In the Celtic Centre we create, engineer, learn, transform, inspire, and collaborate in the spirit of design.
Amanda:To play an active role as stewards of creation we need to nurture the creative process in a life affirming manner. We need to encourage creativity and problem solving to cope with the demands of a complex world.
Rachel :May the vessel filled with coloured sand be a tangible reminder of the beauty of the creative spirit. I would like to call upon Father Rex to offer his blessing.
Father Wrex:Let us pray in silence and ask God to bless us all. Join with me the prayer of blessing. Creator God, we thank you for the gift of Celtic Centre, which we are blessing today. Bless the gifts of the talents those who teach and learn in this centre. That their work be used to prevail the glory of creation and the creative process. We ask you grant all the activities that take place here would embody the spirit of community among us. We contribute to the growth of well being and real people. Creator God, we honour and praise you. Amen.
God, Your gift of water brings life and freshness to the earth. We ask now that You bless this water and give us Your protection on this day You have made Your own. Amen. We ask this through Christ our Lord.
May the Lord be with you. May the peace of God, which is beyond all understanding, keep your hearts and minds and the knowledge and the love of God and of Jesus Christ. May our mighty God bless us all in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.
Steve Ruddy:I’d now like to hand it back to our performers, our band, for the concluding song. Thank you.
Steve Ruddy:Thank you again to our students and staff performing the songs for our blessing this morning. Of course, thank you to Father Wrex for presiding over the blessing of the Celtic Centre. We’d now like to proceed to the official opening and I would like to invite Mr Martin Jonkers to say a few words followed by a response from our Principal Ann Rebgetz before we officially unveil the plaque and cut the cake. Thank you, Martin.
Martin Jonkers:Thanks, Steve. Welcome to all of you here today. It’s a real privilege to be here and to share in this opening the blessing of this centre. I guess you look back and we see a future generation here around us and we think of our own generation. We think about things and the turmoil that’s currently happening in Australia and around the world. You look back on that and also things from past generations. You see problems and good things as well. We use hindsight for that.
What I really, really love for our future generation here is foresight and probably part of the seven special spirits within the confirmation. That foresight from Brisbane Catholic education, catholic education all over, from people like our Principal Ann Rebgetz, for the teachers around us, the foresight to come together and deliver something like this that flows on – it’s just fantastic. It’s a real privilege, as I said.
Being an accountant of course you’ve got to do a couple of numbers in your head. I figure, well, you’ve got about 1000 students so over 10 years you’ve probably got about 10,000. That equates to about a $150 investment per student per year over the next 10 years to pay for it. Where can you go wrong, really? Okay, that’s enough from me. I’ll pass onto, Ann. Thank you all.
Ann Rebgetz:Thanks, Martin. You can see why St Columban’s is so lucky to have a Chair of the Board who thinks with such vision as well in terms of that makes it happen from a monetary point of view. Martin has done so much for us as most of the students would know. You probably see that sign down in Morayfield, Martin Jonkers Motors. Well, now you’ve seen Mr Martin Jonkers. He has four businesses in Caboolture. In our partnerships with the college and particularly important with this centre, Martin has led us to great outcomes. Thank you, Martin. Thank you for your incredible contribution to the college. We really treasure that.
I would like to just say a few more words around this centre and what it means. To start off with, I think today we’ve seen in our ceremony, a very beautiful ceremony, of everyone coming together. I really want to acknowledge our musicians. They did a fabulous job. Our singers, who were just so moving in terms of that creative spirit that they just sang about. Thank you for sharing that with us.
Really, what this centre is about is the arts and the technologies coming together. When we were planning the centre and the idea of it. For those who are visitors, this used to be that visual arts side and over that side was the industrial technologies. We said, “We’ve got to think of doing this quite radically.” We had our architects there and we put our heads together and we thought, “Well, really, we don’t have to keep it that way.”
This year is the 20th year of St Columban’s at Caboolture. In 20 years, times have changed to the idea of bringing the technology and the visual arts together. We thought, “Well, maybe we need to swap everything around.” Our concept, and we visited many schools in Queensland and down south, and when we looked around we gathered ideas and that’s how we came up with the ideas of having a whole series of designed laboratories, if you like, or design studios.
Each design studio has at the heart of it the concept of creativity in terms of design. We’re also conscious of the fact traditionally there’s been a lot more boys that go into the construction, the design fields in terms of property and housing and so on. There’s a lot more girls that go into the visual arts. We said, “That’s wrong. That’s not the future. That’s not the way to think.”
We wanted to make a space that was very much equitable in terms of design and bring it together. When you visit, you might do a tour afterwards, you’ll see in the arts side that there are many materials that come from the traditional industrial tech side like wood, like metal. Actually, using different materials and making things is that concept.
In so doing, we then had to think, “What are we going to call this centre?” If you look at your programmes you will see … Did all the students get a programme too? I have to find my programme. Oh, here it is. You will see that at the front of the programme it says the Celtic Centre and it is an acronym. C stands for Create, E for Engineer, L for Learn, T for Transform, I for Inspire, and C for Collaborate. In the naming of the centre we tried to involve everything that was happening in the centre.
Why did we choose the word Celtic? That was indeed very important for us as a college being a St Columban’s College and an Edmund Rice associate school as we heard through the prayers that Edmund Rice was the leader in Ireland who actually set up the Christian Brothers. The Christian Brothers then came to Australia and they setup schools in Australia. One of those schools was St Columban’s in 1928, as it’s got on our banner. Next year it’s 90 years since that started at Albion.
One of the key features is the Celtic cross. You see a Celtic cross down in front of this beautifully crafted table, which was done in Caboolture for especially for our school. The Celtic cross came from Ireland. The Celtic cross was very important because the Celtic cross was there for St Columban and St Columban was born in 543, so in the sixth century in Ireland. Edmund Rice was born in 1762, which was in the 18th Century in Ireland.
St Columban as we know, was a monk. He went across to Europe as well and setup more monasteries there. He then was made a saint from the word of the fact that he spread the gospel to so many places. He was an adventurer.
The cross, the Celtic cross, came from the Celtic people who were the original inhabitants of Ireland before Christianity came. If you look at the Celtic cross you’ll see a circle around the cross. The circle represents creation. It represents the sun. It was the link in terms of the source of life, the ongoing rhythms of life and darkness. The warmth of Celtic feasts. That’s what it was representing. That lead to feasts then led to lots of partying and dancing and singing, which was the arts. It also led to people mixing together and the cultivating of new spirits and the cultivating of the land.
You’ll also see from that cross there’s an amazing amount of design. There’s symmetry, there’s very intricate art within the cross itself. Again, that was bringing everything together. The original cross was made of wood. Then in the 17th Century we had some terrible wars that happened in Ireland and that was led by Oliver Cromwell. Cromwell actually didn’t like Christianity, in some parts of it he was very much Puritanical. What that meant, he stripped all of the artistic side of the cross. What he did and his soldiers at the time, they actually chopped out the circle, which was very significant.
Of course, the Irish people who had become Christians at this stage did not like their ancestry of the Celtic cross because the circle was representing the sun and life. They did not like that happening.
When Edmund Rice came along and the other very significant part of Edmund Rice he came from Waterford, outside of a place called Callan, but he then had a business in Waterford, which was his family business, which was a shipping business. At 17 he went to that shipping business. The business was a very big business and that’s another aspect of linking the Celtic cross with our centre because we’re preparing people for business here. We’re actually liaising with business and our business partners.
He did that very well, so well that he actually set up the Christian Brothers, was able to sell his business, get the money from the business, and the build a school and finance the whole operation. That’s why businesses and having a philanthropic outlook on life, that’s giving money to others to help them as well, is so important. We see that emulated through the spirit of this college. Martin is a perfect example of that and helping us raffle our car at the moment. If you don’t have a ticket, I’ll just put a little plug in there, you could easily get a ticket from Heather.
In terms of that business, and he had setup the Christian Brothers, he also then helped put the circle back around the cross. That’s why that’s so significant for us because that circle brings the circle of creation, the circle of life, the circle of the sun. It goes back to the arts of the Celtic people. It’s the engineering of the cross. It was a wooden cross and, as I said, very well-carved and intricately carved.
He bought the circle, he bought the life, he bought God back to the cross. In celebrating our centre today, thinking outside the square, bringing our arts and technology and design together because in the future this is the way of the future. I know that it will lead to many pathways for many of our students and many challenges to think differently about how we can bring that creativity into what we do.
We know as educators creative design is one of the most important skills in problem solving and helping us in our thinking in solving the problems of society in taking the future to where it will just flow and lead to abundance in life.
In that celebration, I’d like to invite Martin forward again. We will look at the actual opening and the official opening of our centre. We now need to unveil the plaque and cut the cake.
This event also showcased some tremendous student talent when they performed for the audience.
The St Columban’s College, Caboolture Principal, Ann Rebgetz talked about how the new centre will benefit the college students.
“Really, what this centre is about is the arts and the technologies coming together,” Principal Ann Rebgetz said.
Both STEAM and CELTIC make up meaningful acronyms. STEAM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics. While CELTIC stands for Create, Engineer, Learn, Transform, Inspire and Collaborate.
It is these core functions of the new high-tech centre along with the college culture of Every Student Every Success that will see the new CELTIC Centre prepare students for the jobs of tomorrow.
Watch the full ceremony video to find out more.