New Chapel to leave a lasting impression on Irene McCormack College community

18 Jan 2024

By The Record

Archbishop Costelloe receives the offertory gifts during the Mass for the opening of the new Chapel at Irene McCormack College, Thursday 30 November. Photo: Supplied.

The opening of the new St Joseph’s Chapel at Irene McCormack College has marked a milestone in the College’s commitment to faith and community.

Opened by Perth Archbishop Timothy Costelloe SDB on Thursday 30 November, guests included Catholic Education Director of Religious Education, Rev Deacon Mark Powell, St Mary’s Cathedral Dean, the Very Rev Sean Fernandez,  St Mary’s Cathedral Manager,  Victor Hoa, Director of Vocations, Fr Israel Quirit, Clarkson Parish Priest, Fr Dariusz Krzysztalowicz SDS, Director of the Mary MacKillop Spirituality Centre, Sr Maree Riddler, RSJ and former College principal Robert Marshall.

Also among the guests was the late Sr Irene McCormack’s sister, Bernadette.

Irene McCormack College Principal Peter Collins speaks at the conclusion of the opening Mass of the new St Joseph’s Chapel Thursday 30 November. Photo: Supplied.

Speaking in the college newsletter, College Principal Peter Collins said in the evangelising mission of the school, they aim to nurture and enrich the religious and spiritual formation of students through prayer and liturgical experiences, celebration of sacraments, faith formation, and social justice activities.

“As part of our evangelising promise, our St Joseph’s Chapel will provide regular opportunities for students and staff to build a prayerful relationship with Jesus while experiencing the richness of Catholic traditions and rituals,” Mr Collins said.

“The Chapel is a visible symbol that Christ is placed firmly at the centre of all of our endeavours,” he said.

The new St Joseph’s Chapel at Irene McCormack College has marked a key milestone in the College’s commitment to faith and community. Photo: Supplied.

The journey of the new chapel began following an idea to transform a disused computer laboratory just off the library into the Chapel.

Consultations were then held with former Director of the Centre for Liturgy, Sr Kerry Willison, Director, Centre for Liturgy, Archdiocese of Perth.

Mr Collins paid thanks to Newman College teacher Mrs Nadia Napoli who connected McCormack College with Ray and Manny Sparta who owned the former Franciscan Missionaries of Mary Retreat House, Victoria Park.

Mr and Mrs Sparta kindly donated many items and in return simply requests prayers for their family.

“Secondly, we are indebted to St Mary’s Cathedral Dean, Fr Sean Fernandez and Cathedral Manager Victor Hoa, for items obtained from the former St Catherine Laboure Church, Subiaco.

“Thirdly, and more recently, I am grateful to Mrs Carol Ormonde and Sr Carmel Wringe for an extensive number of items which were donated by the Sisters of Mercy from the Chapel in their former residence in Victoria Park, often referred to as de Montford’s House.

These historical pieces have been given new life and carry a legacy of faith which will provide a place of worship for generations to come.

Archbishop Costelloe with altar servers at the opening of the new Chapel at Irene McCormack College, Thursday 30 November. Photo: Supplied.

Mr Collins emphasised the creation of the Chapel was an opportunity to strengthen the College connection to the Sisters of St Joseph of the Sacred Heart and Sr Irene McCormack.

“The window graphics celebrate the College’s unique faith story and heritage, which reflects the principle of the preferential option for the poor and marginalised, witnessed by Sr Irene and our College Patrons.

“The Altar relic is a Cross made of wood gifted by Mr Ben Bull and taken from the dilapidated remains of Irene McCormack’s childhood home, and is laser inscribed with her Morning Offering prayer. The Cross reminds us to be beacons of light for the poor and marginalised, just like Sr Irene.

Josephite Sisters from left Sr Maree Riddler RSJ and Sr Frances McGuire RSJ. Photo: Supplied.

“On the side of the Chapel next to the statue of Our Lady is a framed piece of wood, also sourced from Irene’s childhood home, and contains remembrance plaques to honour and remember students and staff who have passed to eternal life while attending the College.

The St Joseph’s Chapel concluded Mr Collins, is exquisitely simple, yet divinely sacred.

“The creation of the Chapel has been a collaboration of faith and love by many people in our community.