Acting principal of St Dominic’s Centre, Heidi Wilkinson, told the congregation, “This week we acknowledge the National Week of Deaf People and throughout Australia we celebrate the language, culture and history of the deaf. We continue to raise awareness of our many deaf communities at a local, state and national level. During the week we also acknowledge the many service providers, the equal opportunity employers and supporters of the deaf in our community.”
St Dominic’s Centre, Mayfield, is a unique school in the Catholic Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle. With the support of our wonderful families and the wider community, together we educate our students who are hearing-impaired. It is a privilege to continue in the Dominican tradition which has a long standing history in the education of the deaf. It is our pleasure to be here with you today to celebrate our uniqueness.
Ms Wilkinson continued, “Today’s Mass is particularly special for our school community as some of our children will be receiving the Sacraments of Confirmation and Holy Eucharist. It is with joy and thanksgiving that we can come together today to celebrate with these students. I would like to thank Helene O’Neill, Lynda Montgomery, Frances Belcher and Anne Sheppard for helping these children in their journey of preparing for today.”
The congregation was invited to congratulate the children as all gathered for light refreshments on the lawn at the front of the church.
Being involved in the preparation of these children has been a privilege. They have received great parental support and typified the inclusiveness that Pope Francis has urged us to demonstrate.
A special thanks to the choir from St Joseph’s PS, Merewether; Director of Music and Liturgy for Newcastle Parish, Anne Millard; the students involved in the liturgical movement from Holy Family PS, Merewether Beach; Bishop Bill, Fr Andrew, Fr John and Sr Louise Gannon rsj for their participation in the celebration; interpreters Daphne Petersen and Karen Lantry; Vicki Gould for the passion she brought to the signing choir and all the staff at St Dominic’s for their support throughout the program.