A large crowd gathered to enjoy the festivities and marvel at the transformation of what was once a supermarket and is now an incredible 84-place early education facility.
The blessing and opening commenced with an Acknowledgement of Country from General Manager of St Nicholas Early Education, Kerri Armstrong. Kerri then explained to guests that the children at every St Nicholas service begin the day with an acknowledgement of country. The children then presented this lovely version to the delight of those gathered.
CEO of the Catholic Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle, Sean Scanlon, then welcomed everyone and thanked the many people who were responsible for creating such a unique and ingenious space for the children and educators who are lucky enough to spend their days at the centre.
Both Kerri and Sean made special mention of Project Manager and Consultant Architect at the diocese, Kurt Daley.
“Kurt faced many challenges with this project, but he did an incredible job bringing it all together and as you can see the results are fantastic,” said Sean.
Bishop Bill led a Blessing Rite. In his homily, Bishop Bill noted that St Nick’s at Cardiff is co-located with CatholicCare Social Services.
“There is a certain symbiosis having St Nick’s and CatholicCare in the same building, delivering services that families need.
“As we open this centre we are asking God’s blessing on all that goes on here; for God’s hand to be over this place,” said Bishop Bill.
The bishop was particularly impressed with the enormous pirate ship that is the centrepiece of the playground.
“I love the pirate ship and am tempted, even in old age, to clamber on it. I was always climbing trees as a child and would have had a field day on this. I think it’s a marvellous expression of letting kids be kids, in a safe and nurturing environment,” Bishop Bill noted.
Bishop Bill walked through the centre, blessing both the rooms and outdoor areas (including the pirate ship playground) and the educators and children. While he was doing so, children from St Kevin’s Primary School at Cardiff and St Nicholas entertained guests with some wonderful songs, including Do Re Mi from The Sound of Music.
Guests then enjoyed a lovely morning tea prepared by the St Nick’s Cardiff team.
NBN was on hand to report on the opening and let the community know about the wonderful things taking place in early education around the diocese with St Nick’s.
The official blessing and opening of St Nicholas Early Education Lochinvar will take place on Tuesday 29 May.