Holy Spirit Parish, St Clair-Erskine Park, has celebrated 40 years as a parish community with a novena, a special Mass and a Marian fiesta featuring foods from around the world.
Bishop Vincent Long OFM Conv, Bishop of Parramatta, joined Parish Moderator Fr Michael Belonio OSA, the Prior Provincial of the Augustinian Province of Australia, Fr Peter Jones OSA, together with Fr Peter Tangey OSA and Reverend John Zhang to celebrate this important milestone for the people of St Clair on 22 October 2022.
“Our celebration of this milestone anniversary is a time of gratitude, trust and joyful hope in the future. We are grateful for what has been achieved, but we are also confident in a hope-filled future,” said Bishop Vincent in his welcoming letter to the souvenir booklet.
The celebrations began with a Novena (9-day rosary) on 12 October with guest speaker Sr Mary Louise Walsh ISSM from the Mission Enhancement Team, Diocese of Parramatta.
“For nine days, different groups led three to five minute presentations on a Vatican-approved Marian apparition then led the Rosary for the parish,” said parishioner Lorensz Herft. “What a beautiful way to prepare spiritually leading up to a significant occasion.”
A procession of Our Lady of the Rosary around the parish grounds preceded the Mass which was then followed by a feast featuring the many traditional cuisines of the St Clair parishioners, who hail from all parts of the world.
Jenny Kyd, Chair of the Fiesta 2022 listed the communities who contributed a rich diversity of dishes from their homelands including Africa, Mauritius, Sri Lanka, Philippines, Australia, Pacific Islands, India and for the first time, Europe. With over 400 attendees, Jenny, who has been involved with the parish for 25 years, commented it was wonderful to see so many new faces, and the funds raised to support the parish also broke their previous record!
Lorensz said the event brought people together, especially around the food. “We were sharing food, faith and fun!” he said.
Parishioner Ken D’Cruz came to St Clair Parish from Ashfield in 1989 and his children attended Holy Spirit Primary School. “St Clair Parish has a bright future, and the mixed nationality parishioners are just excellent,” he said.
The Holy Spirit Parish in Darug Country covers the suburbs of St Clair, Erskine Park, and parts of Kemps Creek. It has a Catholic population of over 24,000 and is made up of many cultural and linguistic diverse groups from different parts of the world.
The Parochial District of St Clair was created on 1 October 1981, with Fr Brian Rooney appointed as the first Parish Priest. The site of the now-known Holy Spirit Parish, St Clair was chosen by a group which included Bishop Edward Clancy who later became a Cardinal Archbishop of Sydney. The first Sunday 8am Mass was celebrated on 25 November 1981 in the Auditorium of the St Clair Primary School.
If you have moved into the area and would like to be part of the Holy Spirit Parish, St Clair-Erskine Park, you are welcome to attend any weekend Masses on Saturday Vigil 6pm or Sunday 8am, 9:30am and 6pm. They would love to see you there.
View images from the Holy Spirit Parish, St Clair-Erskine Park 40 Years celebration here or below: