On Saturday evening, October 19, 2013, the Parish of St Andrew the Apostle celebrated the 25th anniversary of Fr. Ron McFarlane as Parish Priest. The celebration began with a Thanksgiving Mass for what the Parish has achieved throughout the past 25 years under his guidance.
For this Mass, we welcomed back to the Parish some of the priests who have exercised Ministry here during that time. Among them were Fr. Arthur Bridge, Fr. Jolly Chacko, Fr. Arthur Cook, Fr. Clifford D’Souza, Fr. Ruben Elago, Fr. Dave Hume, Fr. Jose Manjalay and the Very Rev Peter Williams. The Mass was attended by about 1000 parishioners.
At the conclusion of the Mass, everyone adjourned to the Primary School Hall for refreshments, speeches, a sing-along, some dancing and some welcome socialising. During the evening there were audio-visual presentations of the Ministry of Fr. Ron and also presentations of the many things that have occurred in the parish during the past 25 years.
In his homily, Fr. Ron stated that he saw this occasion as a celebration of this wonderful parish community that has evolved and developed in such remarkable ways.
Fr. Ron then spoke about parish: “When we think about parish there is something very important to appreciate. The Church is not just Jesus; it is not just the Pope, Bishops and Priests; it is not this building; the Church is people; it is all of us. As individuals we are the Church and we make up the Church; as community, we express what the Church is all about. What this means in my opinion is that there are many reasons why this is a good parish, and this includes the people who come to Mass and those who are actively involved; it also includes the relationship we have with our primary and secondary schools. Of course, being honest, there are 10,000 reasons why we who are members of this family can make it something even better. What any parish is depends upon the parishioners who make up and take ownership of the community.”
I believe we are doing a good job, with some hiccups, putting into practice our parish vision statement says: 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.”
Fr. Ron pointed out that we are very fortunate here in this parish community to be able to provide Catholic education from kindergarten to year 12. This has great benefit for the whole parish community in that we have been able to keep a close connection between our younger parishioners and the broader parish community. He also acknowledged the work carried out by the Principals of our schools in working together to form one community. They have helped to create the culture of all of us making one community.
Fr. Ron concluded with the following: “I also really need to acknowledge the people of this parish community and the people I have worked with in this parish, for these have always been my daily support base. To me, it is very true that our true support groups are the people to whom and with whom we minister. In this context I will mention two people even though there have been many more who have been constantly active in the parish. These two people deserve a mention because their contribution has been so significant in the life of this community. They are Joyce Inglis who was parish coordinator for so many years and Maria Kervin who was sacramental coordinator for over 20 years. As well, the example, the support, the encouragement, the involvement and the initiatives in parish Ministry offered by my fellow priests has also been invaluable in developing the life of this community.
Finally, 25 years down the track I think I can safely say that I am no longer just the new person on the block and now this is our parish and we should all be very proud of what has happened with God’s help and with the commitment of so many people in these 25 years. At the same time, we are all aware that this is an ongoing journey in which we continue to support each other and welcome new members to our parish family.”
The parishioners of St Andrew’s Marayong sincerely thank Fr Ron for his on-going service to our parish community.