Blessing of Chalices presented by the St Andrew’s Primary (Principal: Mr Richard McGuiness) and St Andrews College (Principal: Mr Nic Vidot) with Fr Ron McFarlane and Fr Clifford D’Souza. Acolytes: Allan Mortel, Thomas Bui and Gerald “Ged’ Oblea.
On Sunday, March 27, 2011, the Parish of St. Andrew the Apostle, Marayong, celebrated a Mass of Thanksgiving for Past and Present Parishioners. This Mass was attended by over 1300 people. Some of the visitors to our Parish were parishioners in 1961 when Father Kenneth Byrne was appointed Parish Priest.
At the conclusion of the Mass there was a slideshow presentation highlighting certain aspects of the history of this parish community. This was appreciated by those in attendance and brought back memories of life throughout 50 years.
Gathering for Morning Tea after Mass
The Mass was followed by a morning tea which was catered for by parishioners. It was very uplifting to see so many people staying around, getting to know each other, and renewing acquaintances. As usual, the present parishioners of the parish community outdid themselves in the social aspect of the day in expressing that we are, very much, a welcoming community.
As the year goes on there will be other celebrations of 50 years of parish life and this will culminate in November when Bishop Anthony Fisher OP comes to the Parish to celebrate Mass with this parish family.
In the introduction to the Mass booklet the following thoughts were expressed.
‘On February 1, 1961, the Parish of Doonside/Quakers Hill was separated from Blacktown Parish. Father Kenneth Byrne was appointed the Parish Priest. The first Mass was celebrated in the temporary parish Church of St. Andrew the Apostle on November 5, 1961. This year we celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the Parish of St. Andrew the Apostle Marayong.
Depending upon your age, 50 years may not seem such a long time ago. But, think about this. It was in 1956 that black-and-white television was introduced into Australia. In these 50 years society has changed dramatically. People move home and change jobs frequently. We are a totally mobile society. The world of technology continues to change and develop at a frenetic pace.
In many ways the world of the Parish has changed. When this Parish first started there were very few meetings and very few committees. The Second Vatican Council made all of us look at what it means to be a Christian and what it meant to be a parishioner. In this Parish community you have lived through this change of perspective and it has made great demands on parishioners. But, I believe it has been worthwhile for we have developed a parish community where the parishioners are prepared to take ownership of the Parish. As a result of this, the community we have now exists and will continue to develop, with God’s grace and help, as a Christian family.
We should take this opportunity to reflect on our Parish Vision Statement, a statement worked out by the parishioners of this Parish family. It states:
“We are an active and welcoming Catholic community, where people of all ages draw closer to God. His love is expressed through each one of us by prayer, liturgy and reaching out in service to one another.”
This weekend we celebrate our first liturgy marking the 50th Anniversary of the Parish. Initially, it was going to be a Founders’ Day Mass but we, the present community at St. Andrew’s, felt that such an approach would be very limited for it would only focus on those here at the very beginning and would miss out on the dedication and commitment of so many people of all ages and backgrounds who have contributed to the life of this Parish. It was felt that this was an appropriate opportunity to acknowledge the most important treasure of this Parish after God, and that is the people who make up this community. Our God and our liturgy are at the centre of our Parish life but it is the people who make community and Parish come alive.
So we come together today to thank God for the many gifts he has given to us and for the many people he has inspired to take ownership of this Parish as their own. This Mass of Thanksgiving for the gift of parishioners is so very important. We acknowledge what we have received; and we become aware of the privilege and responsibility we have, to develop this community life in the present, and towards the future.
Having said all that, it is important that we become more aware of the tremendous gifts given to us by Father Kenneth Byrne and those parishioners who were there at the beginning to get this Parish community started on its journey.
Thank you for joining us this weekend and please remember you are always welcome here in the Parish community of St. Andrew the Apostle, Marayong.