Students and staff of Red Bend Catholic College in Forbes have farewelled the Marist Brothers after 94 years of faithful service.
College principal Stephen Dwyer said in a livestreamed liturgy on 13 November that the Marist Brothers had made an “amazing contribution” since 1926 when the first Marist school opened in Johnson Street Forbes.
Also recognised in the ceremony was the contribution of Marist Brothers in other schools in the Diocese of Wilcannia-Forbes in the towns of Parkes, Forbes, Bourke and Broken Hill.
Present were Bishop Columba Macbeth-Green, Provincial of the Marist Province of Australia Br Peter Carroll, Vice Provincial of the Marist Province of Australia Br Darren Burge, National Director of Marist Schools Australia Dr Frank Malloy, Director of Catholic Education Wilcannia-Forbes Diocese Anthony Gordon, former college students and parents and Marists including the college’s resident Marist Brothers Br Robert Hayes and Br Bernard McGrath.
“As the Marist Brothers conclude their time at the College at the end of the 2020 year, we are grateful for their presence and we are inspired to continue to enliven the Marist spirit to those in our care,” said Mr Dwyer.
In his speech Mr Dwyer outlined the history of the Marists and their influence in Australia after arriving in 1872. In 1926 under the invitation of Bishop William Hayden, the first Marist School in Forbes and the Diocese opened in Johnson Street.
“We see this same spirit of the early Marists in the pioneering spirit of the Marist Brothers who established, maintained and enlivened schools across our diocese, in particular, in the formation of Marist Brothers College Forbes in 1926, through to the Red Bend Catholic College today, inspiring the minds, hearts and spirits of those in its care,” Mr Dwyer said.
“The Marist spirituality that originated with Marcellin and the founding community has been enriched by the successive generations of Marists.
“As principal of our dynamic Catholic Marist community, I am filled with much hope for the future, knowing that the College is a proud Marist community of Mission within the Australian Marist Community. Thank you to our Marist Brothers present and those of the past.”
Brother Carroll said that the brothers were saddened to be leaving but that Marists are used to “welcomes and farewells, comings and goings”.
“We do our bit and we move on,” Brother Carroll said. “Most of us don’t stay in one place for very long…[But] We’re very grateful for all we have received over 94 years.”
In a video message, former college principal Br Michael Flanagan said that he had loved being at the Year 7-12 school and was especially grateful for its support of students with special needs. “As principal I knew that if I had a child with special needs, that child would be accepted and well-supported by everybody in the school community,” said Br Flanagan.
“To me, it’s the great feature of the school and one that I hope will be continued for a long time.”