Historic day in Auckland

St Ignatius of Loyola Catholic College, the new Jesuit Companion School, welcomed its first students on 7 February.


By Dean Wearmouth, Foundation Principal

Immense joy and gratitude marked the highlights of our official opening day on 7 February 2024. The day was a significant milestone for our college journey, celebrated with our wider community, local Iwi, supporters, friends, and students. The proceedings began with a meaningful Powhiri (Maori welcome ceremony) led by representatives from Ngati Teata and Ngati Tamaoho, setting the tone for inclusivity and cultural respect.

Dignitaries from the Catholic Diocese of Auckland, including Bishop Stephen Lowe, graced the occasion. Local MPs, school principals, and Linda McQuade, Chairperson of our Foundation Board, were also present. Architects and builders, Jasmax and Savory, were acknowledged for bringing our vision to life, along with Michael Butler, who oversaw the project build for the Auckland Catholic Diocese.

Students participated in the Powhiri, embodying respect and engagement. As Foundation Principal, I emphasised our commitment to excellence and finding God in all things. College staff sang ‘He Honore’ in unity after the principal’s address, highlighting our shared purpose and mission.

Following the Powhiri, our campus was blessed, and we gathered for prayer and reflection during our liturgy. Bishop Stephen Lowe led the liturgy and blessed our classroom crosses and the Statue of St Ignatius of Loyola, symbolising inspiration and guidance. The ribbon was cut, officially opening our college. The blessing of the plaque affirmed our community’s efforts in building a faith-rooted, caring and compassionate environment. Fr Michael Smith SJ warmly read aloud the plaque’s words which commemorate the official opening day of the college.

Reflecting on the day fills us with pride and optimism for the journey ahead. Together, we embark on a new chapter guided by our shared values and commitment to our students. We extend heartfelt thanks to all who contributed to the success of our opening day.

This year marks a new chapter for all akonga (students) and staff at the college as a newly formed Catholic community. It is a great opportunity to learn, to grow and to flourish together.

During the conversion of St Ignatius of Loyola, he committed his heart and his life to the kingdom of God by laying down his sword at the feet of Our Lady of Montserrat. Through our Catholic faith and through the strength of our Heavenly Mother, may we too open our hearts to accompany one another on a journey to find God through our everyday school experiences.

We seek to find God in ourselves, to find God in one another and to find God in our common home. Inveniens Deum in omnibus.

In the spirit of St Ignatius of Loyola….

All photographs by Ben Campbell / BC Photography