Our Lady of the Rosary (OLOR) Parish in Kellyville is a calming oasis among the chaos of everyday life.
The Order of Friars Minor Conventual (Conventual Franciscans) moved to Kellyville in 1968 and they were given care of OLOR when it was declared a parish on 8 March 1970.
Bringing with them their image of Christ in creation and the human person, the Franciscan parish has a particular focus on the sanctity of life, revealed in the gardens of their Shrine of the Holy Innocents.
The gardens include near life-sized hand-carved marble Stations of the Cross, the Shrine of Our Lady of Grace, and a memorial for children lost to abortion.
From humble rural beginnings, the parish has expanded and flourished under the guidance of the Conventual Franciscans and with this expansion, the establishment of two primary schools, Our Lady of the Rosary, Kellyville, and St Angela’s, Castle Hill.
Diverse in culture and grounded in unity with Christ and the Church, ‘communion’ is a term aptly used by Br Louis Schmid OFM Conv when describing the parish where he has resided since 2006.
“There is a supernatural strength here and I would say the key word is ‘communion’ – communion with Christ and the Church as the mystical body of Christ,” Br Louis said.
“It is strengthened by this love for Our Lady and the Blessed Sacrament. That love extends to a strengthening in unity of all the different cultures, for it is these aspects of the faith that unite all cultures.”
The once small farmland has grown with housing development in surrounding suburbia, prompting the reaffirmation of retreat and reflection in the rush of life.
“It is becoming very busy. It is losing the rural element and with that comes the danger of losing our connection with each other,” Br Louis said.
“I think we need to safeguard what we have and not become complacent. We need to reach out to newcomers.
“We need to encourage our people and explore what brings them to this communion.”
The mercy of Christ, Br Louis said, is realised in the welcoming and generous nature of the parishioners.
“There is a great outreach of mercy because it comes from a great faith. The Gospel is lived when I see new people coming into the parish and being welcomed,” Br Louis explained.
“It’s a very active parish. There is something for everybody, whether you’re old or young, and there are always attempts to accommodate the different needs of the parish.
“There is a good fellowship. I think this is also being nurtured by the Franciscan presence and the parishioners, in turn, have nurtured us in their faith and goodness.”
A place of prayer, reflection and healing, the parish is home to a Holy Door in this Jubilee Year of Mercy, which can be found on pilgrimage to the Franciscan Shrine of the Holy Innocents.
The shrine is open every day from 6am-6pm and all are welcome to visit and pray in this tranquil space and to join the parish in the sacraments.
“The mercy of Christ is active and it is strengthened by the sacraments,” Br Louis explained.
“You know that there is something good about a parish by its Confessional line because then you know Christ is known.
“Christ is truly known and loved here.”
View Elizabeth McFarlane’s photos of Kellyville’s Shrine of the Holy Innocents here
Read more about the Kellyville Parish Priest, Fr Alejandro Lopez OFM Conv here