Iona College Sri Lanka Missions & Pilgrimage Tour

Iona College had a memorable 61st birthday celebration while travelling on their inaugural Sri Lanka Missions and Pilgrimage Tour in October. The group travelled to Jaffna in the far north to meet their brother school, St Patrick’s College, where Iona College’s founder was also rector for almost two decades. The Sri Lankan school warmly welcomed their Australian brothers with fanfare fit for the Queen—a marching band, ceremonial greetings and an assembly attended by the entire school (and half the town!) set the tone for an incredible day of international connectedness. The day was topped off with an impromptu cricket match, with the Sri Lankans demonstrating their batting prowess in a jovial game where the Aussies wore traditional straw hats and did their best to play in jeans! Iona College was hosted throughout the Jaffna region by Father Deloshan, who introduced the group to many of the oblate-led organisations and projects supporting children, remote villagers, amputees, and other communities in need. The experience was certainly eye-opening for the entire group and demonstrated the real-world and far-reaching impact of Catholic charity. The last three days of the tour included sightseeing around Sigiriya, Polonnaruwa and Kandy. Every member of the group summited the Sigiriya Rock Fortress with a rewarding view across the hills of Sri Lanka at the top. Visits to tea plantations, spice factories, and ancient sites of historical and religious significance introduced the students to the culture and history of the Sri Lankan people. The tour was a memorable experience from start to finish—the rare sighting of elephants in the wild on the drive to Sigiriya was a fortuitous addition to an already epic tour.

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