To the sounds of The Seekers and other hits from the 1970s, the parishioners of Christ the King Parish, North Rocks, gathered together in a much-anticipated golden jubilee celebration.
The parish was established in 1970, but because of the pandemic, had to put its celebrations on hold. The postponement did nothing to dampen the enthusiasm of the hundreds of parishioners who turned up to a special Mass and dinner held on the Feast of Christ the King two years after the official golden jubilee year.
Before the celebratory Mass began, the parish invited Aboriginal elder, Graham King, to talk about the traditional owners of the land the parish sits on, the Darug people. Explaining the land had been occupied for over 40,000 years, Graham told the congregation, ‘There is abundance here, and that is what we celebrate.”
Bishop Vincent Long OFM Conv, Bishop of Parramatta, congratulated the parish in his opening remarks noting, because of the month of November when the Catholic Church remembers those who have passed, “Many past parishioners shed tears and sweat to build this community. We pay tribute to them.”
Bishop Vincent continued, “From its humble beginnings, it grew into a vibrant centre of worship, transformation and witness.” He explained how parishes such as Christ the King could be a model for others. “We must be a community of hospitality and justice that serves as a reminder of what our nation and our world should be.”
Following Mass, the parishioners, headed by Parish Priest Fr Ian McGinnity, made their way to the church hall, which had been the original church of the parish, before the current church, with its landmark stained glass steeple was built in the mid 1990s.
Sitting amongst the golden jubilee decorations, parishioners enjoyed a presentation of photos through the life of the parish, as well as a joyful video put together by parishioner Michael Yates, featuring all members of the parish singing “We are Australian”.
Bishop Vincent, blessing the festivities and parishioners who had organised the event, joked that he hoped everyone who had been involved would be around to serve another 50 years. “The transformation begins with us,” he said. “I’d like to congratulate you for being such a levelling force and being a gathering place for healing, social justice and inclusion.”
Marina Tomasovic is a parishioner who helped organise the festivities. She explained why the celebration was so joy-filled for so many.
“It’s about 50 years of a community coming together,” she said. “Here, I have been immersed in the Word of God, and fellowship with other parishioners.”
Allana Charbel has been a parishioner of the parish her whole life and particularly liked seeing those she regularly worships with having such a fun time. “Everyone is always around for each other,” she said. “It’s very supportive and it’s nice seeing everyone enjoying themselves outside of Church.”
Fr Ian was delighted to see so many had come to celebrate. “This parish is a community of faith, and we share our gratitude with the whole community,” he said.
View images from the Christ the King golden jubilee celebrations here or below: