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Diocese of Toowoomba Catholic Schools

Mass to celebrate the bicentenary of Catholic education in Australia


What: Mass to celebrate the bicentenary of Catholic education in Australia

When: Monday, 24 May 2021 at 10.30am

Where: St Patrick’s Cathedral, 123 Neil Street, Toowoomba

A National Mass will be celebrated simultaneously across Australia, on Monday, 24 May 2021, at 10.30am, acknowledging the bicentenary of Catholic education in Australia.

In Toowoomba, St Patrick’s Cathedral will be the centre of Toowoomba Catholic Schools celebrations. 

Reverend Robert McGuckin, Bishop of Toowoomba, will lead the Mass, with a congregation made up of students and staff from across the Toowoomba region, and invited guests.

The Mass is being live streamed to enable school communities to gather locally and join in virtually. Some schools are also holding their own celebrations. 

Celebrating the Mass at St Patrick’s Cathedral is especially significant as it is located on the same site as the first Catholic school in the Diocese of Toowoomba. 

St Patrick’s School, now St Saviour’s Primary School, was opened in 1863.

“With over 9,000 students and 1,700 staff in schools across south-western Queensland, we have much to celebrate. Catholic education in Australia came from humble beginnings, led by priests and members of religious orders who were determined to provide education to those that would otherwise not have had access. Today, we have schools across our rural and remote communities and in Toowoomba that have seen many generations of the same family educated in them and go on to live a full and flourishing life as active contributors to our Nation,” said Dr Pat Coughlan, Executive Director: Catholic Schools.

“This 200 year milestone enables us to acknowledge that history and tradition and celebrate the vibrant and progressive face of Catholic education today,” said Dr Coughlan.

The Prime Minister of Australia Scott Morrison has also recorded a congratulatory message to the Catholic education community on this occasion.

“For over 200 years, your schools, preschools and now universities, have transformed Australia through the millions of lives you have influenced,” the Prime Minister said.

“On this anniversary, we remember all who have been part of this heritage, including Fr Therry and Australia’s first saint, Mary of the Cross. We recall on this anniversary, the good days and the bad, the successes and disappointments; joys and sufferings; as well as the faith and community that has enabled Catholic Education to make this significant contribution to our national life.

“In doing so, we also recognise the clergy, religious, lay men and women, parents and parishes who have contributed so much.”




CONTACT:      Donna Kerr | Communications Officer | 07 4637 1408 | 0428 793 718 donna.kerr@twb.catholic.edu.au