Rationale of Ignatian Service
Xavier College is a Catholic school in the Jesuit tradition. As such, it is grounded in a faith in Jesus. However, it is not sufficient simply to have faith; rather Jesus calls us to have a faith that does justice. “What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if you say you have faith but do not have works?” (James 2:14). Ignatian Service provides an opportunity for all students to become involved in their local, national and international communities. Moreover, it encourages students to look beyond themselves, to become more aware of those around them, their needs and the structures which contribute to people’s social conditions. Xavier College students have been given much and consequently, much is expected from them (Luke 12:48). Students have a responsibility to share their time and talents with others, to learn from others and to actively change the world for the better. Genuine Ignatian Service programmes encourage students to journey with the people they serve. Students not only make a difference in the lives of the people they serve, but by entering into a genuine relationship with others, they too are shaped by their experience of Ignatian Service.
Ignatian Service vs. Community Service
Ignatian Service can be seen to fall under 3 main categories:
- Serving those on the social margins – either directly or indirectly (through raising funds or awareness)
- Developing the faith of others
- Caring for the environment
The above categories of Ignatian Service are distinct from Community Service activities, which still provide a valuable service to particular communities, but do not necessarily serve those on the margins of society. Ignatian Service should encourage students to move out of their comfort zones, extend their awareness of others, experience circumstances different from their own or challenge the unjust structures in society.
Ignatian Service Programs
Ignatian Service is a key part of student life at Xavier College. It allows students to give of themselves, sharing their time and talents generously with others, particularly those less fortunate within our society. Forming ‘Men and Women for Others’ is an important component of a Jesuit Education.
Students can support those on the social margins either by directly interacting with them or through fund fundraising or awareness raising. The following regular Ignatian Service programs are provided for students by the school.
- Oznam House - provides flexible accommodation options for people experiencing homelessness. Preparing and serving a meal for the residents of Ozanam House.
- Knitting for the homeless - knitted scarves will be donated to Vinnies to be distributed by Soup Van. Knitting scarves for the homeless.
- Kew Gardens - a residential aged care facility. Chatting & walking with residents.
- Rotary Donations - rotary Club support newly arrived refugees and flood affected communities by providing them with household items. Sorting donations and packing them to send out where required.
- Friday Night School Reading Program - Friday Night School, an independent non-denominational educational charity that assists migrant and refugee students from non-English speaking backgrounds. Reading to primary aged tutees from FNS and listening to them read aloud.
- MacKillop Aged Care - a residential aged care facility. Chatting with residents & assisting the Lifestyle Coordinator with activities.
- St Catherine's - a residential aged care facility. Chatting with residents & assisting the Lifestyle Coordinator with activities.
- Andale School - an inclusively independent school, supporting children with language and learning challenges who aren’t reaching their full potential in a mainstream environment. Playing games with the children and assisting with the after-school care program.
- Karana Aged Care - a residential aged care facility. Chatting with residents & assisting the Lifestyle Coordinator with activities.
- Prague House - provides residential care to people who are socially and financially disadvantaged, many of whom have experienced homelessness and have a mental health condition. Chatting and playing games with residents.
- Servants Community Housing - operated by Servants Community Housing, provides affordable accommodation that is safe and secure for vulnerable individuals, many of whom suffer from long-term mental illness. Many have been homeless. Chatting & playing games with residents from Romana House.
- Friday Night School - tutoring children (Prep – year 12) at St Ignatius Church, Richmond and helping them with their homework
- St Vincent's Care Services, Kew - An integral part of the education of Xaverian students is the opportunity to take part in Ignatian Service – a service-based program that serves our community. We are fortunate to be able to provide a range of different service experiences for our students. Across the road from Burke Hall is St Vincent’s Care Services Kew. The centre accommodates a number of residents in its aged care facility. St Vincent’s Care Services Kew have contacted Burke Hall to enquire about the possibility of our students being involved in the community programs of the centre. As a school community, we at Burke Hall value the opportunity of providing community service and we have established a wonderful link between our students and the residents of St Vincent’s Care Services Kew over the last two years. The service programs of the centre include amongst other things: singing, playing games (chess, board games and cards), reading, having discussions with the residents and taking part in Zumba classes.
- Trinity Catholic Primary School - Over the last two years, students have been visiting Trinity Catholic Primary School in Richmond on Friday afternoons. These fortnightly visits have the focus of community service. Our students have been most appreciative of the way they have been welcomed into the Trinity community and they have enjoyed the opportunity to be of service to others. The service thus far has included undertaking organising library books, refilling and collating Lego sets, assistance with filing work and being an engaging and positive presence in the school community. In most visits, our Xavier students have the opportunity to read to the prep students in small groups; an experience that is greatly enjoyed and appreciated by all involved. Xavier students are dismissed directly from Trinity Catholic Primary School and have displayed the independence and maturity in this process.
St Mary's House of Welcome - Over the past twenty years, Burke Hall has had a wonderful association with St Mary’s House of Welcome in Brunswick Street, Fitzroy; a centre that has provided for people in need in the Fitzroy area since 1960. In recent years, the Burke Hall “Socks and Jocks” Drive and Crazy Socks Day have been two ways that we have supported the centre. Post COVID, the House of Welcome contacted Burke Hall to enquire about the possibility of our students being involved in the community programmes of the centre. As a school community, we at Burke Hall value the opportunity of providing community service and we have been able to establish a meaningful and productive link between our students and the workers and attendees of St Mary’s House of Welcome. The main focus of our community service involvement has been cooking and serving pancakes for the people who attend the centre. Also, at various stages, Burke Hall students have been invited into the pool room to play pool with the House of Welcome clients; an experience that is greatly enjoyed by all involved.
- Friday Night School - Friday Night School (St Ignatius Church, Richmond) is an independent non-denominational educational charity that assists migrant and refugee students from non-English speaking backgrounds. Xavier College has been contributing to this program for over 30 years. A group of Year 8 students joins students from more senior years at Xavier and participate through tutoring children (Prep – Year 12) at St Ignatius Church, Richmond and helping them with their homework. Xavier students transport themselves to the venue and leave directly from there when it concludes or transport back to the Senior Campus is available.
- Reclink Grand Final Days - At Burke Hall in 2022, Peter Cullen, Founder and National Development Manager of Reclink Australia, presented to our students about the work his organisation does in providing recreational and sporting opportunities for people living on the margins of society. Reclink welcomes people who, for one reason or another, would not normally have access to mainstream sporting teams. Each year, a group of students have the opportunity of providing service at the Reclink football grand final games. This service includes the roles of boundary umpires, goal umpires, timekeepers, scoreboard operators, BBQ chefs, crowd counters, behind the goals football retrievers, medal presenters and litter liaison officers. All roles are undertaken wholeheartedly and competently. In previous years, highlights have included being asked to sing the national anthem and presenting premiership medals to the victorious teams. But above all, the most definite highlight is the opportunity our Xavier students have in engaging and walking with members of the Reclink community. Xavier College has just completed its 30th year of contributing to the Reclink Grand Final Days; a tradition that is regarded so highly by both Xavier and Reclink communities.