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Fr Josh’s Front Page Reflection Mar 18, 2022

Third Sunday of Lent
Fr Josh Whitehead
Fr Josh Whitehead

New College Naming

It’s official! We are delighted to announce that the new Prep–Year 12 Catholic school planned to be built in our parish – the fastest growing area in the Sunshine Coast – has officially been named Notre Dame College. The announcement was made at a media event last week by the Acting Executive Director of Brisbane Catholic Education (BCE), Dr Doug Ashleigh, and I at the recently purchased site where the school is planned to be built at Nirimba (Aura). Enjoy some photos of the event at the bottom of this article. The college name, Notre Dame, in French means, ‘Our Lady’ and honours Mary, the Mother of Jesus, which connects wonderfully to our parish’s name, Our Lady of the Rosary.


Notre Dame College will be developed and built by BCE, while working collaboratively with myself, some key parishioners and Marist Australia to develop an identity, spirituality and culture that meets the needs of the increasing number of families moving into our parish and seeking a quality Catholic education for their children. In essence, the goal is to create a Catholic community within the city of Aura which people actually need and desire to be a part of. This will entail reimagining the way we celebrate our Catholic faith in both the liturgy and the two-way expectations which are embedded when an intentional culture is created.


Some parishioners may have previously heard me preaching about the analogy of the funnel. It’s an image which describes not a negation of the importance of Mass, but the way in which worshiping Catholic communities need to change in order to reach out to, create trust with, and invite others into a relationship with the person of Jesus. An upside down funnel is how people who don’t come to Mass perceive Catholic communities – even our valued school families. With an upside down funnel model of community, the only way to be part of the club is by entering the funnel through the narrow end – Sunday Mass. Imagine, however, a community characterised by the funnel up the right way – the way it’s meant to function. This model gives people permission to claim membership in the Catholic community in ways that aren’t restricted to one way of acting or behaving. It brings, for example, our school families, those seeking baptism for their baby, wedding couples, funeral families and others into the body of the community in a non-judgemental way. Here’s the powerful part of the image: the bottom of the funnel isn’t necessarily someone who comes to Mass on Sunday; rather, it’s someone who is fully engaged in their faith. Our mission as practicing Catholics is to bring others gently and respectfully into a fully engaged relationship with Jesus!!


As the priest appointed to the Aura Catholic Community, I have, for the past 6 months, already started creating a welcoming, inclusive and engaging community connection with some people who live in the community of Aura. As part of the strategy to offer people the opportunity to be part of the mission, as well as connecting with people who may not, at this time, consider themselves parishioners, last Sunday we organised a BBQ for the Aura community at the Nirimba Sport Complex.  It was encouraging to meet families who are looking forward to watching the progress of their new college, Notre Dame, develop.


In order for this mission to move forward, it’s important that we grow the group of parishioners who’re investing and engaged in this Aura-based mission. We need you to put your hand up and say, “I am ready, open and willing to offer my gifts and service to the mission which God has placed before our parish.”


To be a part of the Aura mission – even if you don’t live there – and experience a sense of belonging and opportunities to serve, please register your interest by going to the Parish website –


Peace and blessings, Fr Josh

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