03 June 2021

From the Principal

Article by Mr Michael Exton

From the Principal

Dear Saint Ignatius College Geelong community members,

Farewell Fr James

Fr James Puppady has been a tremendous support to the College in his leadership role as President of the Association of Canonical Administrators for the last four years. So it is with sadness, I inform you that the Archbishop has asked Fr James to move and lead two parishes in the northwest of Melbourne. Fr James will commence in his new position on June 9.

At Saint Ignatius College, we will miss him. As well as President, he has been a Canonical Administrator, Board member and College Chaplain for nine years. Fr James has celebrated many Masses, spoken at assemblies and significant school functions. His friendly, enthusiastic and generous nature has been appreciated. In particular, his involvement with the student group we sent to the Australian Catholic Youth Festival in Perth in 2019 was very much appreciated by all those involved.

Fr James with Bishop Mark Edwards and Mr Michael Exton at the blessing of the Mutlipurpose Centre in 2019.

Fr James’ story is one of courage and commitment. His approach to his vocation reflects our school motto, “to love and to serve.” Fr James was born in Trichur, Kerala State, India and was ordained to the Priesthood for the Vijayawada Diocese, Andhra Pradesh State, India, on 18 April 1993. He then worked for 19 years as a Parish Priest in that diocese and was a member of the Bishop’s Council of Priests.

Fr James was very active in serving the people in his parishes in India. He sought funding and donations to support his work to provide education for poor students. He also raised funds to support many other projects with which he was involved. These included:

  • Construction of almost 70 houses for low-income families;
  • Wheelchairs for disabled people;
  • Sewing machines for disengaged students;
  • Medicines for chronically ill people;
  • Information programs to support disadvantaged people to stand by themselves financially; and
  • Spiritual programs to build up the faith life of the people in his parishes.

In 2012, Fr James moved from India to serve the Melbourne Archdiocese. After only one month in Melbourne to familiarise himself with his new country, Fr James was placed in Drysdale to administer the Parish after the retirement of the then Parish Priest, Fr Des Panton. Since then, Fr James has worked enthusiastically in his new country and, particularly, serving and enhancing the Drysdale Parish. After a short time, Fr James was appointed Drysdale Parish Priest in recognition of his competency and dedication. And as a further sign of his commitment, he became an Australian Citizen.

After his successful nine years at Drysdale, it was no wonder that he has been asked to take on the ‘mission’ to combine two parishes, St Paul’s Coburg and St Oliver Plunkett’s Pascoe Vale.

I am sure parents/guardians, students, and staff are grateful for his generous and valuable support. On behalf of our College Community, I express our gratitude to Fr James and wish him all the very best for his future. I ask you to please keep Fr James in your prayers as he commences his new appointment. Please also pray for his mother and family in India at this worrying time of great uncertainty.

Return to onsite learning and working at school

As you are probably well aware, yesterday, Acting Premier James Merlino announced that the lockdown restrictions currently in place would be easing in regional Victoria from 11:59 pm on today, Thursday 3 June, if testing shows there continue to be no new cases.

Therefore, we are looking forward to all year levels and students returning to face-to-face learning from tomorrow, Friday 4 June.

All students (except those with exemptions) will need to carry a mask and wear it indoors and on buses. I ask that you please check that your daughter or son has a mask with them each day. Please do not send them to school if they are unwell. If your daughter or son exhibits cold or flu like symptoms while at school, we will contact you and ask you to please take them home.

Well done to our students for managing another period of remote and flexible learning and to families for all you have done to support the students during this time.

Thank you for your ongoing support of the College and everything you are doing to keep our school community and the wider community safe.

Best wishes,

Michael Exton