I am absent from school this week. However, it is an authorised absence. Forty-seven students are travelling to either Cambodia, Timor Leste, India or the Northern Territory as part of our Year 11 pilgrimage experience. They are accompanied by a dozen members of staff. It is the culmination of our Roncalli Service program.
John XXIII College aims to educate young people of competence, conscience and compassion who are committed to God and the service of others. The College supports a Pilgrimage Program for students and supervising adults that is premised on the Ignatian way of being, “Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam” – all for the greater glory of God.
The Pilgrimage Program offers students the opportunity for growth and transformation through the experience of learning, service, prayer and accompaniment. The Pilgrimage Program requires those involved to work alongside people who are fighting the injustices of our world; to experience a totally different way of living, discern transformative moments, and to reflect on the experience.
Since the Pilgrimage Program is premised on Ignatian pedagogy a structured reflection is integrated into the experience with participants being required to complete a personal journal.
As one of the voluntary faith formation programs offered at the College, the Pilgrimage Program attempts to:
- Assist students and adults ‘find God in all things, and, all things in God’
- Enrich participants’ knowledge and understanding of the Gospel call to justice and its reflection in the social teachings of the Catholic Church
- Develop an understanding of Loreto and Jesuit works and the charism of the Orders
- Develop ideas how we might respond to ‘the signs of the times’
- Develop an appreciation of the richness of unfamiliar cultures.
It has been great to be part of the preparation for the pilgrimage and I am sure our students will embrace sharing the experience on their return.