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Thriving Coomera community announces new school to be named after Jesus’ foster father

Fr John Echewodo

Fr John Echewodo: “I’m hoping the new college will add to and enrich our parish life”. Photo: Jed Delmiguez

PARENTS living in Coomera will soon have a new Catholic school to choose from that has a connection with Australia’s first saint.

The new Catholic Prep-to-Year 12 school will be named St Joseph’s College and is expected to open on a 10ha site on Kerkin Road South in 2019.

The school’s name was chosen to embrace the charism of Australia’s first saint St Mary of the Cross MacKillop, who named her order after St Joseph.

Brisbane Catholic Education executive director Pam Betts said St Joseph’s College would highlight the values and charisms of the Sisters of St Joseph of the Sacred Heart.

“We are thrilled that the sisters have given us their strong support for this, which will strengthen the Josephite charism and values on the Gold Coast,” Miss Betts said.

“The college’s motto, Courage to Love, Learn and Serve, beautifully encapsulates the values and example of St Mary of the Cross, and we are sure these values will inspire the students, staff and families of the new college community.”

St Joseph’s College will be one of three schools within Coomera parish of St Mary’s.

The parish already provides pastoral support to Assisi Catholic College at Upper Coomera and Jubilee Primary School at Pacific Pines.

Coomera parish priest Fr John Echewodo said the new college’s patron saint was not just the foster father for Jesus, but also his community.

Since arriving at Coomera in June last year, Fr Echewodo has seen Mass attendance soar, and most of this growth comes from young families who are choosing to settle in the suburb.

The parish has 25 altar servers, a growing youth group and at least eight people who have gone through the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults to become Catholic.

“I would have one of the most vibrant, family-filled parishes in the archdiocese,” Fr Echewodo said. “I can go for months without a funeral, but baptisms are a common celebration on a weekly basis. I can see four or more families every weekend.”

Fr Echewodo makes sure these new families are not just visitors at Christmas and Easter.

“I tell them that it’s not a one-off thing,” he said. “These young families are willing and eager to contribute to the parish life, and they are very happy to be involved.”

Fr Echewodo hoped the new families joining St Joseph’s College would feel welcome in his parish community.

“I’m hoping the new college will add to and enrich our parish life,” he said.

“In my prayers for weekly adoration I said, the highest gift to get is the gift of souls.

“I pray for the conversion of souls and for people to have a sense of the need to have Christ in their lives.”

An estimated 1800 students are expected to attend St Joseph’s College by 2024.

Applications for foundation principal are now open while enrolments will open early next year.

Coomera parish celebrates its 20th anniversary next month and will receive a visit from Bishop Ken Howell for a Thanksgiving Mass on December 10.

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