History of the Parishes in the Catholic Diocese of Parramatta
From Dundas Valley in the east, west to Katoomba, south to Luddenham, and north to Richmond, the Catholic Diocese of Parramatta is made of 49 vibrant Parishes.
Dating back as early as 1832, each of these Parishes has its own unique story to tell and place in the history of the Diocese's formation and growth.
Harris Park - St Oliver Plunkett's Parish (Est 1940)
|St Oliver Plunkett's Church, Harris Park. Photo: Virginia Knight|
The history of the church in Harris Park is unusual. In his Will, Jack McCreedie, a wealthy merchant and amateur astronomer, decreed that no portion of his land at Harris Park should ever become associated with Catholicism. However, in 1926, when his home and land went up for auction, a group of Catholics including Rev Dr Sheey, Granville Parish Priest, got together and with a well-supported campaign raised the money to buy the mansion and land. McReedie's mansion became the convent and juniorate for those considering becoming nuns and was dedicated Mary's Mount. When the Convent was established plans were made for building a church and school on adjacent land and the foundation stone was laid in October 1929.
The first Mass was celebrated on Christmas Day 1929. In 1930 the school/church, dedicated to Blessed Oliver Plunkett, an Irish martyr, opened its doors. Blessed Oliver was canonised in 1976 and so the parish became St Oliver's. Over the years many changes have taken place at Harris Park.
In 1967, a carpenter was employed to make several renovations to Mary's Mount. One day, from a dismantled fireplace he unearthed a broken bottle.
Securely and secretly tucked away in a section of the glass bottle was a piece of parchment-like paper wrapped around the tiny statues of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception and the Scared Heart. Where McCreedie once ruled supreme and tried to assert his will from the grave, a new generation of the devout interpret this emergence as a direct result of prayer, especially that first one in the bottle.
PARISH PRIESTS & Administrators
Established 1940 -
Rev John Heaps
Rev Peter Farrelly 1966 - 1973
Rev William McGuiness 1993
Rev Lancy D’Souza 1994 – 1997
Rev Eugene Szondi (Administrator) 1997
Rev Peter Williams 1998 - 2004
Rev George O’Mara (Administrator) 2005 – 2007
Rev Joseph Thomas (Administrator) 2007 – 2008
Rev Arthur Bridge 2008 – 2014
Rev Christopher de Souza 2014 – present