Work has now commenced on the site of a new school to be known as St Ignatius of Loyola Catholic College, Drury, in Auckland, New Zealand. It is anticipated that this new diocesan college will open at the start of 2024 with 340 students, growing progressively to 900 by 2030.
The establishment of a Catholic college in Franklin Counties south of Auckland city has been an enduring hope for many. Parishioners first proposed the provision of Catholic education for the young people south of Auckland to Bishop Liston in the early 1950s. Over 40 years later a group of parents led by Mr John Mills, chair of the steering committee, came together to lobby and work for the establishment of a Catholic secondary school in the area. Working with the Catholic Diocese of Auckland to achieve their dream, they have been supported on this journey by the visits and generous support of Fr Chris Gleeson SJ and other Jesuits of the Australian Province.
In 2012 the then Australian Provincial Fr Steve Curtin SJ and Bishop Patrick Dunn, proprietor of the college, accepted the name ‘St Ignatius of Loyola Catholic College’. Everyone involved is looking forward to being a part of the Jesuit network in forming an educational ministry that embodies the vision, spirituality and charism of the Society of Jesus. It is the intention that the Jesuit charism will be central to the school’s identity and growth over the years to come. The current Provincial, Fr Quyen Vu SJ, is similarly committed to this school being a strong companion school in the Jesuit network of schools across Australia and New Zealand.
Earthworks have begun and planning is well underway on the school design. Provisional drawings give an impression of what the school may look like.
We are in dialogue with the Diocese of Auckland on the plans currently underway and we look forward to sharing with you these developments as they unfold in coming months. In company with Frs Chris Gleeson and Michael Smith SJ, I also hope to visit the school site once travel resumes between Australia and New Zealand.
In the meantime we ask for your prayers for the continued efforts of our New Zealand companions and that the school will come in time to be the fruition of the long held dreams of building a school in the Jesuit tradition in service of the South Auckland community.
Executive Director JEA