Social justice was at the heart of Our Lady of Mercy College Parramatta’s Mercy Day celebrations.
The annual event began with a Mass in St Patrick’s Cathedral celebrated by Bishop Anthony Fisher on September 13.
Principal Kitty Guerin said the day was special to the college.
‘‘When I talk to ex-students, they speak of Mercy Day with such affection and positive memories,’’ she said.
‘‘For me this year’s celebrations generated a mix of feelings as it was my last one as principal.
‘‘I will certainly treasure the experiences and fun times with staff and students on these great days.”
At the end of the mass, the Sisters of Mercy Parramatta were presented with a gift from the college to mark their 125th anniversary.
Four college staff members of more than 20 years were also acknowledged.
The Mass was followed by a carnival with bush band, dancing, jumping castles, sausage sizzle and garden games.
The 2013 Mercy Day theme devised by the students was ‘‘It starts with you’’.
Director of Mission, Claire Thomas, said students completed many social justice initiatives which aimed to raise awareness of the importance of being merciful.
“Students embraced the theme ... by developing a petition calling on our local members of parliament to treat asylum seekers and refugees fairly with respect and dignity,” she said.
Pupils from St Patrick’s Primary School in Blacktown were also invited to share in the Mercy Day celebrations.
The pupils were tutored by a group of more than 20 OLMC students at the All Saints African Centre, a co-curricular activity described by students as one of the best they’ve ever done.
‘‘The college’s commitment to social justice is evident in the willingness of staff and students to give their time and also stationery, books and learning games for this cause,’’ Mrs Thomas said.
‘‘Catherine McAuley [founder of the Sisters of Mercy] believed that education had the power to set people free from injustice and seek a better life.’’