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UNDA commissions new icon to mark 30-year milestone


The University of Notre Dame ordered Saint Joseph with Child Jesus icon to mark its 30th anniversary. Photo: Michael Galovic.

By Theresia Titus

The University of Notre Dame (UNDA) has commissioned an icon of Saint Joseph with Child Jesus from NSW-based artist and iconographer Michael Galovic.

The icon is 45 x 35 cm in size and created especially for the University on order from Anthony Coyte, National Senior Executive Officer and Associate Director (Faith and Formation).

Mr Coyte said the icon was the first one the University had commissioned, however, not the first one it has acquired.

The University acquired an icon of “Our Lady Help of Christians” from the same iconographer, for its 25th anniversary in 2014.

This particular icon was blessed by Archbishop of Perth Timothy Costelloe SDB at the University’s 25th anniversary Mass in August 2014, and is placed at the Holy Spirit Chapel on the Fremantle Campus.

“[This year] marks the 30th anniversary of the founding of the University of Notre Dame Australia and we thought the acquisition of another icon would be an appropriate way of acknowledging and celebrating this milestone,” Mr Coyte said.

Mr Coyte told The Record that some senior staff at the University made the decision to commission the icon of St Joseph “following prayer and discernment earlier this year”.

“St Joseph was chosen first of all as he is the spouse of Mary, and the University is dedicated to Our Lady, ‘Notre Dame’,” Mr Coyte said.


The Sisters of Life pray before Michael Galovic’s depiction of “Our Lady Help of Christians” at UNDA Fremantle’s Holy Spirit Chapel on 24 May 2019. Photo: Matthew Lau.

“St Joseph is also a layman, and as a layman, he is a man of faith and wisdom and a humble and prudent servant of God.

“As the University was founded by a group of dedicated laypeople, we thought St Joseph was an inspiring and relevant choice for our community here,” he continued.

Mr Coyte believed that as St Joseph is also the protector of Mary and Our Lord, he is someone community members “can turn to with confidence, asking him to look over us with the same fatherly care”.

“We wanted an icon that would sit harmoniously in our Chapel with the present icon of Our Lady Help of Christians, which also features the child Jesus,” Mr Coyte explained.

“As a husband and father, St Joseph also exemplifies the vocation to simple, everyday holiness lived out in daily family life.

“An icon featuring St Joseph with a gaze of tenderness and love for Our Lord seemed the ideal way to convey this.”

The University is planning a blessing of the icon on Saturday 7 December at a special Vigil Mass in the Holy Spirit Chapel at the Fremantle Campus.

The Mass has been scheduled as part of the University’s programme for student pilgrims leading up to 2019 Australian Catholic Youth Festival, which commences on Sunday 8 December at the Perth Convention and Exhibition Centre.

“The icon will be placed in the Holy Spirit Chapel on our Fremantle Campus, on the left of the altar,” Mr Coyte said.

“We are also planning a second event early next year to provide another opportunity for community members to learn more about the icon.”