“For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body.” (1 Cor 12). The different ministries at Villanova College are like different limbs. And just like the body comes together, so too do our ministries complement each other in achieving important initiatives and events. As with a body, it’s integral that new growth occurs each year, so that each particular generation of students feels free to discern new avenues through which to build a better community. The actions of the ministry groups are meant first and foremost to deepen community spirit. We also seek to raise awareness of the experiences and stories of those within our community who might be seen or heard least. When appropriate, we also offer our direct services to anyone in need of a friendly hand or smile, remembering that we are very likely to receive far more than what we humbly provide.
Current Ministry Groups
YOUNG AUGUSTINIAN YOUTH MINISTRIES (YAYM)
The YAYM brings Middle School students together by running Mother’s Day and Father’s Day stalls along with other fundraisers. These aim to support several Augustinian scholars at three Filipino schools with whom we have formed a productive partnership over the last 20 years.
This year the YAYM members have taken the initiative in organising highly successful visits to a local nursing home. “It means so much that people outside our walls are thinking about us,” said one resident.
AUSTRALIAN-FILIPINO AUGUSTINIAN SOLIDARITY (AFAS)
The pioneering work of a group of teachers and students in 1992 set the building blocks for AFAS. This ministry has since become our main link to assisting students in Filipino schools and increasing awareness of life in the Philippines.
Help is primarily given through fundraising each year to keep about 16 students at high school who would otherwise be unable to continue their schooling. The AFAS also funds many significant projects at Villanova’s three Filipino sister schools based on local priorities.
Every two years, a group of staff and students goes out to the Philippines to work alongside the locals on development projects, while also enjoying the privilege of wonderful hospitality. As one member of staff put it, this encounter often provides “a life-changing experience”.
The annual Aid Day is another way of inspiring the community to support the AFAS and its mission through humbly-sought donations. Other one-off campaigns are also organised to raise awareness and funds, such as the ‘privileged to play and support’ campaign in 2011.
ST VINCENT DE PAUL
Villanova acts as a branch of the Catholic Church, working with local churches to help the people on our doorstep who might be quietly struggling. Each year the Senior School traditionally organises Easter hampers to go to local homes where the luxuries and basic goods provided might make a difference at a testing time of the year.
Boys and staff deliver the hampers themselves, creating an eye-opening and transformative experience. The impact is felt when our boys learn how thankful and overjoyed their local community is that the “school on the hill” is actually thinking about them.
Over the last two years Villanova has also run sleep-outs in the quadrangle, raising awareness for homelessness in Brisbane.
Young Christian Students (YCS)
The YCS works to create friendships between Junior and Senior School students through down-to-earth bonding activities such as playing handball during recess.
Last year, the College came together in creating a YCS garden where students of all ages can socialise. The YCS has also run a very successful Year 5 and 12 breakfast over the last two years, where Year 5 students and Year 12 students can swap stories and perspectives.
After a comprehensive training program, staff, along with Year 11 and Year 12 students, are able to join the Rosies volunteers in bringing tea, coffee and snacks to the homeless on the streets of Brisbane.
The most important gift our boys can offer our disadvantaged community members is that of conversation and time. Some staff members are also part of the regular volunteer teams, and a range of students and staff are involved in a Rosies fundraiser each year.
EUCHARISTIC MINISTRY (SENIOR SCHOOL)
Towards the end of Year 11, students can apply to complete a Eucharistic Minister course. This course covers the history, development and theology of the Eucharist, as well as the practicalities of serving our Villanova community as a Eucharistic Minister.
During their senior year, students serve as Ministers at all College masses and their own graduation mass. There are also opportunities available for further spiritual development and a deeper understanding of serving in a Christian context.
LITURGICAL MUSIC GROUP
The Liturgical Music Group comes together regularly throughout the school year to learn and play music at College masses and other liturgies. It is an excellent opportunity for students of all ages to learn an instrument while further enhancing their connection to God.
Since 2011, teams of staff and students have trained for and trekked the arduous 54-kilometre Gold Coast Hinterland Great Walk.
This is intended to create a sense of appreciation for and kinship with the World War II heroes who defended Australian soil along the Kokoda Track. Villanova’s Kokoda Challenge also raises funds and awareness for the Kokoda Foundation, which offers a Kokoda-esque experience of bonding and mateship to at-risk youth.
FAIR GO AUSTRALIA
Two proud Indigenous former students of the College inspired Villanova to partner with the charitable foundation, Fair Go Australia, which exists to provide support to Indigenous students in Brisbane.
Villanova’s contributions come through an annual touch football competition that highlights the athletic prowess and community spirit of Indigenous students at Villanova, other colleges such as BBC and St Peters, and Yourtown. The event concludes with a free BBQ for all involved.
Throughout the years, particular stories and events have surfaced, which have inspired a one-off response from the Villanova community.
In 2010, Jake Griffiths shared his story of surviving 14 heart operations. This led to an imaginative series of events with Loreto College Coorparoo, such as a Thank God You’re Here performance, to raise money for HeartKids.
Students often bring forth particular reasons for the College to hold free-dress days such as the one in 2011, which supported schools impacted by the Christchurch earthquake and the Brisbane floods.
Under the friendly rivalry prompted by the Cor Unum Shield, College houses now take turns running free-dress days. The Shield is then awarded each year to the house that displays the best charitable work in the community.