Bishop Ingham announces Australia’s newest Catholic parish in Oran Park Media release from Diocese of Wollongong | 22 June 2015

 Artist impression of the new purpose-built parish centre and worship space to be built on the site adjacent to St Justin’s Catholic Primary School

Artist impression of the new purpose-built parish centre and worship space to be built on the site adjacent to St Justin’s Catholic Primary School

Bishop Peter Ingham announced today that the Catholic Diocese of Wollongong has established Australia’s newest Catholic parish in Oran Park. The parish is also the first new territorial parish in the Diocese in over 21 years. The parish will be known as St Mary MacKillop Catholic Parish, named after Australia’s first canonised Saint.

Bishop Peter said: “It is indeed a joyful time for those living in this beautiful part of South West Sydney, one of the fastest growing regions in Australia. Many families are blessed to have lived in this area for years, and now we welcome another pioneering generation as new suburbs are opening all around. The establishment of St Mary MacKillop Catholic Parish reflects the vibrancy of the Diocese and its more than 190,000 Catholics.”

Bishop Peter has appointed Fr David Catterall as the founding priest of the new parish. Fr David is 42 years old and has been a pastor for over fifteen years ministering in Wollongong, Nowra, Camden, Campbelltown, Rosemeadow and most recently in his home parish of Albion Park.

Fr David said: “It is an exciting prospect starting a new parish as we ‘launch into the deep’ and discover fresh ways of being the hands and feet of Jesus in our local area. I believe it is fitting that our new parish is named after Australia’s first canonised Saint, St Mary MacKillop. Mary famously said: ‘Never see a need without doing something about it.’ I am excited that we can now take up Mary MacKillop’s challenge together in Oran Park! I also look forward to working alongside the other Christian churches and civic leaders in the area.”

Painting of St Mary MacKillop by Suzie Byrne

Painting of St Mary MacKillop by Suzie Byrne

St Mary MacKillop Catholic Parish Oran Park will include the suburbs of Oran Park, Catherine Field, Harrington Park, Harrington Grove, Gregory Hills, Leppington, Marylands, Lowes Creek and parts of Bringelly, Rossmore and Leppington North. Fr David will be living as part of the community in a residential street in Oran Park Town rather than in a traditional priest’s house next door to a church.

Work will soon commence on a new parish centre and worship space (next to the site of St Justin’s Catholic Primary School) which, amongst other things, will be used for the celebration of Mass. The building is planned to open in late 2015 and is best described as a purpose-built structure that will operate as the church and parish centre until a permanent structure is required as the community grows. There is also the likelihood that further parishes will need to be established in the area over the coming years.

Fr David Catterall

Fr David Catterall

For now, Fr David will set up a parish administration centre on the site next to St Justin’s Catholic Primary School and will celebrate Sunday Masses at 10am at the OOSH Centre at St Justin’s from 19 July 2015 as well as celebrating Sunday Masses at 8am at St Mary Mother of God Church Leppington from this weekend onwards which is also now part of the new parish.

Fr David said: “No doubt you’ve heard the phrase, ‘it’s not a house, it’s a home,’ and the same applies to a Catholic parish. A parish is not just a church building; rather, it is the people who make up that community. Pope Francis describes a parish as, ‘the Church living in the midst of the homes of her sons and daughters … in contact with the homes and the lives of its people … not a useless structure, but an environment for hearing God’s word, for growth in the Christian life, for dialogue, proclamation, charitable outreach, worship and celebration.’” (Evangelli Gaudium, 28)

The establishment of the new parish has been welcomed with great excitement by the two newest Catholic schools in the Diocese, located in Oran Park – St Justin’s Catholic Primary School and St Benedict’s Catholic College. Mr John Milgate, Principal of St Justin’s said: “It is wonderful news for our students, parents and staff! As of today we belong to a new Catholic parish family. There’s a real buzz around the school following Bishop Peter’s announcement. I’ve known Fr David for some time and I can’t wait to begin working closely with him as we strive together to nurture the faith and spiritual dimension of our children while providing them with a comprehensive and balanced curriculum.”

Mr Michael Hanratty, Principal of St Benedict’s Catholic College, also expressed his delight on hearing the announcement. Michael said: “The creation of this new Parish is a significant milestone in the story of the St Benedict’s school community, itself in its formative years. I look forward with great hope and anticipation that together as Church, school and parish will better serve the families and young people of this area, growing them in faith and connectedness to God and to the Good News of Jesus Christ.”

Although acknowledging the daunting task of being entrusted with the pastoral responsibility and care of the Diocese’s first new parish in over two decades, Fr David said: “I am reminded of the old saying that we can see further if we stand on the shoulders of those that have gone before us. I am grateful to Fr Michael Williams and the local clergy, as well as the parishioners of St Paul’s Catholic Parish Camden, for the pastoral care and support they have given to the people and school communities in the region. They have provided a solid platform that will enable the successful launch of our new parish.”

St Mary MacKillop Catholic Parish 94 Oran Park Drive Oran Park NSW 2570 Phone: 1300 947 810 Email: oranpark@dow.org.au Web: www.marymackillopparish.org.au

For further media enquiries: Daniel Hopper, Diocesan Communications Coordinator (02) 4222 2461 | 0418 667 517 | daniel.hopper@dow.org.au

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