The Retreat experience is one of the most valued oppurtunities by students as they reflect on their years of schooling in our HSC exit surveys.
The goal of our Retreat Program is to provide quality experiences for our students to explore their relationship with themselves, others and God. Years 7, 8 and 9 students participate in Reflection Days at the College or in the local area, organised and run by the College Leader of Evangelisation and assisted by the College Youth Ministry Officers. Year 10 participate in a two-day overnight Retreat, and Year 12 in a three-day experience As these Retreats are such an important part of the spiritual, emotional and social development of students at MacKillop College, they are compulsory events.
MacKillop College is a secondary school of the St Agnes' Parish. Staff, students and families from MacKillop College are immersed in a variety of ministries within the St Agnes' Parish and wider Lismore Diocese.
Youth Ministry Officers (YMO’s)
These are young adults trained in Youth Ministry within our school and parish. These young people work with the Leader of Evangelisation in order to offer opportunities for our students to further explore their faith within their lives.
Lunchtime groups which are organised by the YMO’s at the College throughout the year. These include experiences for Year 7 & 8, 9 & 10 and 11 & 12 on separate days. These groups provide an opportunity for students to socialise, ask questions and grow in their faith.
Youth Ministry Classes
Year 9 and 10 students are offered the opportunity to participate in Youth Ministry classes. These classes are designed to encouraged the students to explore their faith, serve the community and participate more fully in the life of the Church, while completing the Religious Education curriculum. Each year we offer one Youth Ministry class per year group.
LISMORE Diocese events that are offered to MacKillop Students
Year 7: Transitus Retreat (Diocesan)
Year 8: Festa Christi (Diocesan) and Catch the Wave (YMO at MacKillop)
Year 9 and 10: SHINE (Offered to Youth Ministry Students)
Year 11 and 12: KAIROS (St Agnes Parish initiative) LEAD (Diocesan) Street Retreat (Diocesan) SHINE (Diocesan)
IGNITE Conference – held in Brisbane, is an annual discipleship event offered to Year 9 – 12 students within our diocese. (Emmanuel Community, Brisbane)
Australian Catholic Youth Festival – A biennial event under the direction of the Australian Bishops
Cultural Immersion Program
The Christian Outreach program aims to provide opportunities for the marginalised, less fortunate and the underprivileged, foster a relationship between our College community and our sister school in Visale, Solomon Islands and empower our students to be involved in an initiative underpinned by Gospel values. In essence, the program aims to “make a difference” and put a face to Christianity through a Cultural Immersion Program.
Students and staff embark on a trip during mid-year holidays, immersing themselves in the culture of the community at Visale.
During this time the team assist the local community to build better facilities at the school and continue to build on the friendships we have developed as a College with the residents of Visale.
See below for our images from the previous programs.
Testimony from MacKillop College student Kashia McGrath:
Visiting the Solomon Islands was an absolutely incredible and unforgettable experience for everyone involved. To be completely honest, we departed with the intention of making a difference in the lives of the students in Visale, however we had no idea the impact they would have on us.
As soon as we arrived, we noticed the caption on the number plates: ‘The Hapi Isles’. This completely embodies the culture that we were about to encounter – the Solomon Islands is home to the happiest and most generous people you can imagine.
As we neared Visale on the first day, we were all in awe. Firstly, beautiful children had been smiling and waving at us from the side of the road, and secondly because of the beautiful scenery. We experienced a cultural welcome, and it was then that we all fell head-over-heels in love with the students. As they sang for us, we all silently agreed that it was possibly the most beautiful singing we had ever heard! We were also a little shocked by the difference between their school and ours – their classrooms had cement floors, metal grilled windows and many of them walked long distances to get to school.
Between us and the Visale students, we completely filled up the two classrooms that they used as a hall. There were many students outside as well, looking in through the windows and even some little kids looking in through a gap in the roof! We later found out that we had arrived during their holidays, and even though they didn’t have to come to school, they chose to come just to do our lessons and help us paint the classrooms.
On Sunday we attended their local mass, and it was there that we witnessed how generous these people are. At one point during the mass, ladies swayed down the aisle to place lavish arrangements of fruit and flowers at the altar. Then everyone lined up behind them to place donations in a basket at the front. The line was so long that it stretched out the door of the church, and it was so amazing to see all these people, most of whom weren’t even wearing shoes, donating coins.
The Solomon Islands hold a really special place in all of our hearts, and every day we strive to bring some of the kindness and happiness of the ‘Hapi Isles’ to Australia.