• Sacred Heart College filled with aroha to mark cyclone anniversary

Sacred Heart College filled with aroha to mark cyclone anniversary

Sacred Heart College was filled with aroha as students came together to commemorate the first anniversary of Cyclone Gabrielle.

The cyclone, on February 14, devastated the region, with a number of students and teachers, and the wider school community personally impacted.

Principal Maria Neville-Foster along with Head Girl Ann Maria Jelish, Community Leaders Lauren Harkness and Grace Carran, and Stewardship Leader Isla Chantrey attended the Napier Community Commemoration Service at the Soundshell.

It was a very poignant occasion where we stood together as a region to remember and reflect,” Mrs Neville-Foster says.

“We acknowledge the deep losses felt right across our communities, including those whānau who lost loved ones, and those whose lives, livelihoods, homes and communities were impacted.”

Back at school, a minute of silence was also held, followed by a prayer service at the grotto, organised by College Chaplain Joylene Whibley.

Catholic Character Leader Taleta Vili said it was important to reflect on the significant impact of the cyclone’s devastation and the strength shown by communities in its aftermath.

“It was an opportunity to honour those affected, acknowledge advancements made in recovery efforts, and reaffirm our dedication to readiness and unity in the face of natural disasters.”

Religious Education Teacher Tom Silverwood read the Psalm of Hope, and a letter from Bishop John Adams.

Mrs Neville-Foster read the Gospel of Matthew. The day coincided with Ash Wednesday – the beginning of Lent.

“The Gospel reminds us that when we help those in need, we help Christ.”

This was evident last year, when they received “aroha” from around the country, particularly from the Catholic school community and the Palmerston North Diocese.

“We remember this aroha with gratitude. As a community we continue to support those impacted from the cyclone. While the bridges are fixed, and we can move freely between cities we also recognise that the hearts and minds of some members in our community remain broken.”

She hopes the day will become a day of love moving forward and always be a day of love.

“It’s nice to come together and show solidarity and connection with those in our community who are still suffering. And I know that all of us ourselves will be feeling something.”