The Transition from Terra Sancta College to St John Paul II in 2015

Dear Parents, Caregivers and Students,

As you are now very much aware Terra Sancta College will be renamed St John Paul II Catholic College, Nirimba and Schofields, from the beginning of the 2015 school year.

We wish to take this opportunity to emphasise that the heritage of Terra Sancta College will not be lost in the name change but that its values and vision will live on and be reinforced into the future. In fact the College crest, motto and colours remain unchanged as they are not only the heritage of the college but they are borne out of the college’s close association with the papal visit of St John Paul II to Australia in 1996.

In the process of maintaining the college heritage and history whilst going forward we have been able to maintain the motto, crest and colours after reviewing their origins, importance and relationship to St John Paul II. Below are our thoughts that were presented as support for the retention of these important elements of the college, its uniform and identity.

The Cross:
The Cross is central to the crest, is at centre of our religious beliefs and physically at the centre of both campuses, and reinforces the symbolism of a Christ centered faith and college.

The Circles:
Concentric circles around the cross symbolize the Australian Spirituality of holy ground borne out of the words of Pope John Paul II in 1996:
“Look, dear people of Australia, and behold this vast continent of yours! It is your home! The place of your joys and your pains, your endeavours and your hopes! And for all of you, Australians, the Way to the Father’s house passes through this land.” (St John Paul II, 1996)

In support of an Australian Spirituality, a spirituality that has been intricate to the history and fabric of Terra Sancta, the Pope also said:
“..for thousands of years you have lived in this land and fashioned a culture that endures to this day. And during all this time, the Spirit of God has been with you. Your "Dreaming", which influences your lives so strongly that, no matter what happens, you remain forever people of your culture, is your only way of touching the mystery of God’s Spirit in you and in creation. You must keep your striving for God and hold on to it in your lives. (St John Paul II, 1996)

The Pathway:
Flowing from the circles and cross at the centre of the college and its history is the pathway which “unifies all human structures. Essentially the path signifies the Vatican II concept of faith as a journey. Members of the early Christian church were known as ‘people of the way’” (TSC 1995 Report, p.49)

The Motto: 'The way passes through this land’
What more can be said but to re-read the statements about the crest and, in particular the words of St John Paul II, “the Way to the Father’s house passes through this land.”

The College Colours:
Linked to the crest are the college colours which reinforce, in particular, the Australian Spirituality that has become central to the fabric of life at Terra Sancta College. The burnt Red Cross is surrounded by the vibrant green circles and blue pathway. The selection of colours symbolizes our continent of a harsh interior surrounded by the lush coastline and ocean.

Just as importantly it should be remembered that the college has been developing its unique culture as a Catholic school founded on the words of St John Paul II. One example of this history and development of the culture is emphasized in the opening words of the school song “here in this land we find the face of God revealed”.

The college will continue its journey that has been happening since 1996 and we see this as an opportunity to re-energise the community and refocus on these visible signs of the college and its links to St John Paul II while building upon everything that is great at Terra Sancta.