Parish Profile: The Good Shepherd Parish, Plumpton

By Mary Brazell, 18 October 2022
A view of The Good Shepherd Parish, Plumpton. Image: Mary Brazell/Diocese of Parramatta


The Good Shepherd is a parish hearing the cry of the earth and cry of the poor and whose parishioners are taking action in response.

Patricia (Trish) Pacleb has been a parishioner of The Good Shepherd Parish, for most of her life. However, it wasn’t until her experience at the 2019 World Youth Day in Panama that she felt called to become more active in the parish community.

“I wanted to keep the WYD spirit strong, and promised to say ‘yes’ to wherever God wanted to take me,” she says.

In strengthening her faith and connection to her parish community, Trish is part of the parish’s Antioch youth group, and is a former member of the Good Shepherd Youth Choir.

These are just two of the dozens of active, dedicated and passionate groups in what is one of the largest parishes in the Diocese.

In speaking with Trish and a few of her fellow parishioners, I ask why they think so many other parishioners have put their hands up to get actively involved in the parish.

“Being a part of a community that takes care of you gives you a sense of hope, it strengthens you and makes your relationship with Christ stronger,” Trish says.

“Everyone in the parish is always so welcoming and encouraging. As long as you have an open heart and willingness to serve, you will always find a part in the community.”

Sacramental Coordinator Priscilla Corpuz adds, “Serving our church community is a gift and we need to share that gift.

“The parish is my spiritual home and the parishioners, who have become friends, are my extended family.

“The Good Shepherd is always alive and active through the dedication and involvement of each parishioner.”

Another passionate ministry of the parish is the social justice group, which started three years ago following the parish’s involvement in the ‘Diocesan Walking with Refugees’ initiative.

Sr Colleen Foley osu has been connected to the parish since 1991 and has been a social justice advocate for a similar length of time. She is the self-described “grandmother” of the social justice group.

“We’re a small group, but whatever we discuss as a group, we take to [Parish Priest] Fr Vincy [D’Costa] and the rest of the parish.

“Fr Vincy is very easy to work with. He is open and willing to engage with the initiatives of the social justice group. He is very busy with such a large parish, but makes time to listen.”

(L-R) Parishioners of The Good Shepherd Parish, Plumpton, Priscilla Corpuz, Patricia (Trish) Pacleb, Anthony Matthews, Parish Priest Fr Vincy D’Costa OFM Cap and Sr Colleen Foley osu. Image: Mary Brazell/Diocese of Parramatta

The social justice group’s latest project is channelling their Franciscan roots and enacting Pope Francis’ call to listen to the “cry of the earth” and the “cry of the poor”.

A few months ago, the parish signed up to the Catholic Earthcare Parishes Program, which provides assistance for parishes on their journey to enacting the Laudato Si’ Action Platform’s 7 Goals for 7 sectors over 7 years and to become a living Laudato Si’ community.

The parish has started small by opting for environmentally friendly products including wooden and paper cutlery in their kitchen, eliminating the use of single-use plastics as much as possible and encouraging the children of the parish to create messages of hope to be displayed during Season of Creation.

RELATED: A cuppa with the priest: Fr Vincy D’Costa OFM Cap

In the future, the parish hopes to begin planting local species and more trees on church grounds, switching to a renewable energy provider and committing to using locally-sourced produce and suppliers.

Anthony Matthews, a parishioner of four years, and Religious Education Coordinator at St John XXIII Catholic College Stanhope Gardens, is one of the driving factors of the Catholic Earthcare process.

“When my family moved to Plumpton, through my social justice involvement in schools, I was able to connect with an action the parish held through which I was already connected on a school level,” he explains.

“From here, I was able to continue to work with and accompany the social justice team to serve those most vulnerable.”

Sr Colleen says that the parish has been very receptive of the changes they are implementing with the Catholic Earthcare plan, saying that even 15-year-olds are coming to the social justice group full of energy and passion and hoping to make the world better.

“The young people and children of the parish are the ones who love this stuff. They’re really aware of sustainability, which gives me a lot of hope,” she says.

Trish adds, “It is our duty to preserve God’s creation because it is a gift, worthy of our care and protection. How we take care of our environment shows how we value God’s gift.”

When asked what other parishes across the Diocese can do to be proactive in social justice, the parishioners recommended by starting small.

“Having the opportunity to listen to stories of the most vulnerable and asking them what they need most – this drives your discernment process, and then action,” Anthony says.

“Mary MacKillop said, ‘never see a need without doing something about it.’ Let us practise her words and put it into action,” Priscilla says.

Trish adds, “it only takes one person to say yes to an opportunity for others to be empowered and be inspired to take action too. Be that one person to start the chain reaction.”

This article was originally published in the 2022 Season of Creation | Spring 2022 edition of the Catholic Outlook Magazine. You can pick up your copy of the magazine in parishes, schools and offices across the Diocese of Parramatta now or you can read the digital version here.


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