Thanksgiving was the theme of the day on Friday 24 November, as students and staff, both past and present, celebrated the Whakamoemiti and Blessing of the new Marian College in Northcote. Maaka Tau and Kaumatua Tira-Roa Rueben from Ngāi Tūāhuriri commenced the blessing with a Whakamoemiti alongside Bishop Michael and Monsignor Rick Loughnan, who blessed the school.
Bishop Michael spoke of the courage of women such as Mother Mary, Saint Mary of the Cross MacKillop, and Venerable Catherine McAuley, who said ‘yes’ to God’s plan. “What marked them above all, they were women of faith. In the face of the greatest hardships, they believed God had a plan. You moved sites in the hope of something beautiful. Today your faith has been rewarded.”
Bishop Michael went on to acknowledge the “Brave men and women who, in faith, said yes to the school, and prayed that it would be a place where students will learn to have the courage to say ‘yes’ to God. Yes to becoming who God has made them to be, yes to giving their best, that they will step out into life knowing God is with them. He will do great things with their ‘yes’ to life.”
While Marian College’s new home is a unique first in its architectural design and sustainability for an educational facility, the almost 13 years without a site to call their own has taught those who have passed through the school an important lesson: “Schools are not about buildings, they are about people,” said Principal Mary-Lou Davidson. “This school is about our faith and about family. Wherever we have been, and whatever buildings we have been in, the heart of Marian College has remained constant. In each of our locations, the experiences of students, staff, and our families have been constant - in our celebrations, our traditions, our work, and our school values. It clearly was not about the buildings - Marian is special.”
Mrs Davidson paid tribute to those who have supported the school as it navigated what its future may be post-earthquake, including the now Archbishop Paul Martin, who initially chose the site for the school. He “supported the unique and sustainable design, and ensured we have the beautiful St Mary of the Cross MacKillop Chapel at the heart of our school,” and Monsignor Rick Loughnan who “cared for the school during the uncertain years.”
Mrs Davidson observed that “Good things take time, and I am a firm believer in the hand of God in our lives. Faith makes us people of hope, and we have held to that hope since the earthquake forced our move from Marian College in North Parade in 2011.”