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Faith, spirituality and social justice

Beliefs and life

A Waverley student is challenged to a liberated way of living through participation in prayer, liturgy, retreats, outreach, advocacy and immersion; with the support of his parents and the college, who share responsibility for his spiritual growth. The college supports his faith journey by listening to his views and challenging him to reflect on his experiences. Ultimately, a Waverley graduate strives to bring the words and actions of Jesus alive within his community and society.

Some of the many opportunities to participate in religious and spiritual life at the College are detailed below.

Worship

Each week of the school term, Mass is celebrated by the College Chaplain, in the college’s War Memorial Chapel. On Holy Days of Obligation there is also normally a Mass held at the College.

Major events in the life of Waverley College are celebrated with a Mass or liturgy for the entire community. These include:

  • Commencement Mass (to mark the start of the school year)
  • Ash Wednesday
  • Easter Liturgy
  • Anzac Day Liturgy
  • May Procession (first Sunday in May)
  • Valete Mass (Mass to celebrate the graduation of Year 12 students)
  • the end of the school year.

Parents and members of the wider school community are always welcome and are warmly invited to attend any College liturgy. A Mass is also held annually for all students from each of the eight college Houses.

From time to time, individual Religious Education classes and year groups in both the Junior School and Senior School attend special celebrations as part of the Religious Education program.

May Procession

The Annual Waverley College May Procession in Honour of Our Lady is held on the afternoon of the first Sunday in May. It is the longest-running Marian Procession celebrated in Australia. This is a compulsory event for students and is also attended by our families, staff and alumni. The Procession recognises the great esteem held by our founder Edmund Rice for Mary, and reminds all in the College community of the presence and life of Mary in our lives today.

Spirituality & Ministry

There are many ways for students to make a commitment to their faith as part of their school life:

Sodality of Our Lady

The Sodality was founded by our students in 1908. Its purpose is to help students deepen their devotion to Our Lady and to understand Mary’s place not only in our lives, but in the life of both the Church and the world in contemporary society. Members are drawn from Years 8 to 12 and meet once a week.

Extraordinary Ministers of the Eucharist

Students are able to serve as ministers of the Eucharist, sharing the presence of Christ with all who receive the body and blood of Christ. They are ministers of the assembly in the service of the Lord. Our first eucharistic ministers were instituted in 2001 and are generally chosen from the Year 11 students.

Readers or Lectors

In the Eucharist, the Lector proclaims the scriptures in the midst of the Assembly, sharing with them the sacred stories of our faith, enabling the Assembly to take hold of these stories and make them their own. Any student, from any year level, may undertake the role of Lector.

Sacristans

Sacristans are responsible for setting up for Masses and packing up afterwards. Only the most responsible students are selected for these important duties.

Altar Servers

A very special and dedicated group of students within the College community, altar servers are rostered to serve at Mass. Altar Servers are called from all year groups.

Students interested in engaging in any of these activities should speak with the Chaplain, Fr Milani or Director of Mission, Phil Davis.

Social Justice

Inspired by the charism of Edmund Rice, the College encourages students to live out the gospel values by siding with those oppressed by poverty and injustice.

Social justice concepts are integrated throughout the curriculum and opportunities are provided for all students to be involved in social action with a view to exposing them to the marginalised and awakening their social conscience.

Social activism is encouraged in Years 5 and 6 with students participating in a wide range of school-based fundraising, including an annual walkathon.

There is a particular emphasis on social action in Year 11 when the students are required to participate in a comprehensive community service program which includes donating blood, serving at the Matthew Talbot kiosk, playing Bingo with residents at a nursing home and mentoring disadvantaged children. Some students can also choose to visit a remote Aboriginal community for a week, and many are involved in St Vincent de Paul Society’s ‘Sydney Night Patrol’ program, which provides meals, blankets and companionship to homeless people.

School activities maintain a close link with social justice endeavours initiated by the Edmund Rice Network. As a result, students from Years 10 and 11 are offered an opportunity to participate in an annual immersion to Timor-Leste where they spend time with the young people of Timor-Leste, building friendships, renovating classrooms and learning about subsistence economies. It is an authentic experience, where people from different backgrounds walk beside each other, share a journey and gain an understanding of a different culture.

In addition, each of the eight Houses chooses a charity or cause to support each year, and students assume responsibility for the work needed to promote their cause.

These activities encourage the development of positive leadership, responsibility and compassion. A teaching program centred on advocacy also encourages students to be aware of, evaluate and act on social justice issues in their own community and around the world.

The college seeks to constantly improve its social justice program through the gathering, analysis and appropriate dissemination of data on best practice in the subject.