If there was an award for the most picturesque parish in the Diocese of Parramatta, Sacred Heart Parish at Blackheath would certainly be a contender.
Nestled at the most western point of the Diocese, high in the Blue Mountains, it lies closer to St Michael and St John’s Cathedral in Bathurst than St Patrick’s Cathedral in Parramatta.
Regardless of its remote proximity, it is wholeheartedly aligned to our Diocese through the implementation of the parish outcomes for the Pastoral Plan, Faith in our Future, which the Parish Priest, Fr Bob Sheridan, demonstrates with pride.
It is no ordinary parish and Fr Bob is no ordinary priest, if there is such a person. At 82 years of age, Fr Bob is the oldest parish priest in the Diocese, but he has been ordained just 11 years.
Prior to becoming a priest, he was a business owner and had been married for 33 years before his wife passed away. Despite his venerable age, the years do not slow him down.
He travels more than 400km a week on parish duties, including home visits, hospital visits and nursing home visits.
The parish has three churches: the main church of Sacred Heart at Blackheath, St Joseph’s Church in the Megalong Valley and St Paul’s Church at Mt Victoria.
Next door to the Blackheath church sits a block called ‘Pine Forest’, which has been cleaned up since Fr Bob’s arrival with the assistance of parish volunteers, who Fr Bob credits with what the parish is able to achieve.
The parish hopes to use the forest for important outdoor events such as a Family Christmas Mass and Holy Week/Easter activities.
Fr Bob’s affection for his parish is infectious and the quiet hamlet of Blackheath is becoming more popular with those seeking a tree-change. “The reason this parish works so well is the voluntary help of so many people,” he said.
“We’ve seen a real change in demographics. When I first came here, there were mainly older parishioners, but as the price of property soars and Sydney gets busier, we’ve seen an influx of new young families. Baptisms have increased substantially.”
Responding to this change in demographic, the parish has produced a New Parishioners Pack, which is being distributed to all new parishioners.
The colour brochure inside the pack was produced a year ago and distributed to every household within the parish boundaries.
It was so successful that it became the catalyst for the pack, which includes a welcome from Fr Bob, a parish history and an outline of parish groups. It also includes a copy of the implementation of the Pastoral Plan.
Sacred Heart Parish prides itself on its liturgies, as well as other events that are both moments of fellowship and fundraising, such as ‘Fashion in the Pews’, which provides parishioners with the opportunity to donate pieces of clothing to sell and partake in a fashion show.
For more information about the parish visit
Mass times in parish churches
Sacred Heart Church, 18 Inconstant Street, Blackheath
Weekdays: Tuesday 6.30pm; Wednesday, Friday & Saturday 9am; Thursday 8am
Healing Mass: 1st Saturday 9am
Benediction: 2nd Saturday after 9am Mass
Exposition: all other Saturdays after 9am Mass
Reconciliation: Saturday at 9.30am
St Paul’s Church, Great Western Highway, Mount Victoria
Vigil Mass: 1st, 3rd and 5th Saturdays 6pm
St Joseph’s Church, Megalong Road, Megalong Valley
Vigil Mass: 2nd and 4th Saturdays 6pm
An unwelcome parishioner
By Fr Bob Sheridan
A couple of months ago, at the exterior of St Paul’s Church at Mt Victoria, a large cavity in the ground appeared under one of the recently replaced downpipes. We then knew that a wombat had tunnelled under the church.
Then came the breakthrough! We found a massive, 1m deep hole at the end of the property, near the entrance sign. We now think that this wombat has brought their entire family. Not sure how much tunnelling has been done, but the distance from the main tunnel entrance to the church is more than 100m.
We have asked the people at Taronga Zoo for help. As this is the oldest Catholic church in the Blue Mountains, opened and blessed by Cardinal Moran in 1902, we do not want to lose it, especially not courtesy of a wombat infestation!