School honours much-loved parish priest

The long-awaited opening of the “Fr Doran Outdoor Education Area” at St James’ Primary, Kotara was a wonderful occasion, marked by thoughtful rituals, heartfelt words and a true spirit of community.

The outdoor education area was the dream of teacher Lucy Harvey, fully supported by former principal Peter Bowen. When Mark Twohill arrived as principal at the beginning of 2014, he was delighted for the project to be brought to fruition.

Uncle Martin of the Awabakal people led the traditional smoking ceremony, assisted by Louise Campbell of the Catholic Schools Office.

A highlight of Bishop Bill’s opening and blessing of the inviting area was a tribute by teacher Sharon Brown to her cousin, Fr James Doran, who established St Philip’s Church and St James’ School, Kotara.

“...he was a gentle man who loved his parishioners.... If he had the chance he would teach us something every day....It was his passion to get in and do what needed doing that led to us having these beautiful grounds we have today....Not only was he enthusiastic about the earth, science and those around him, as a young person I was very aware of his desire to make our church a church for the people.”  

In preaching on the gospel of the mustard seed, Bishop Bill emphasised how many of Jesus’ experiences and stories were about the land, nature, animals and birds, and creation generally. “An outdoor learning area has a really big place in our lives. I think Fr Doran would be pleased.”

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Tracey Edstein Image
Tracey Edstein

Tracey Edstein is the former editor of Aurora Magazine, the official magazine of the Catholic Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle.