Celebrating 50 years of parish life
|The Mass of Thanksgiving|
Catholic Outlook, May 2011
On 27 March, St Andrew the Apostle Parish, Marayong, celebrated a Mass of Thanksgiving for past and present parishioners. Among the gathering of more than 1300, were people who were parishioners in 1961 when Fr Kenneth Byrne was appointed Parish Priest.
At the conclusion of the Mass a slideshow highlighted aspects of the history of the parish, which brought back memories spanning 50 years.
In the introduction to the Mass booklet, the following thoughts were expressed by Fr Ron McFarlane, Parish Priest:
“On 1 February 1961, the parish of Doonside/Quakers Hill was separated from Blacktown Parish. Fr Kenneth Byrne was appointed the Parish Priest. The first Mass was celebrated in the temporary parish church of St Andrew the Apostle on 5 November 1961. This year we celebrate the 50th anniversary of St Andrew the Apostle Parish, Marayong.
“When the 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.
“This weekend we celebrate our first liturgy marking the 50th anniversary. 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 Far 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.”
During 2011, there will be other 50th anniversary celebrations, culminating with a Mass in November 2011 with Bishop Anthony Fisher OP.
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