Parish profile: Walking with Glenbrook

By Elizabeth McFarlane
The efforts of many unsung heroes ensured the parish 50th anniversary celebrations on 3 April were a resounding success.
St Finbar's Church, Glenbrook. Photo: Elizabeth McFarlane

St Finbar’s Church, Glenbrook. Photo: Elizabeth McFarlane

Two major anniversaries were celebrated by St Finbar’s Parish at Glenbrook in April.

Concluding the 50th anniversary celebrations on 3 April 2016 the parish also celebrated the one-year anniversary of the appointment of their Parish Priest, Fr Jolly Chacko MS, on 18 April 2016. The president of the Parish Pastoral Council, Vince Dobson, described Fr Jolly as a “good listener and a priest who journeys with his parishioners”.

“It is through journeying with parishioners that you can fully understand the needs of the community,” he said. “You need to build relationships with the people you support and it’s only through those relationships that a community can be built.”

In many ways, the theme of walking with parishioners is accentuated by the design of the church.

Nestled in the green of the Lower Blue Mountains, the pathway that circles the church guides you on a walk through the final stages of Jesus’ life.

The Stations of the Cross line the path and they provide visitors and parishioners with a powerful prayerful experience.

Journeying to the front of the church, the 12 apostles are symbolically depicted on the centre of the wooden doors and the symbols continue as you walk through.

The cross on the wall of the church, designed by the famous sculptor, Tom Bass (1916-2010), portrays the five wounds of Christ from which flowed His most precious blood.

Fr Jolly Chacko MS standing in front of St Finbar's Pipe Organ. Photo: Elizabeth McFarlane.

Fr Jolly Chacko MS standing in front of St Finbar’s Pipe Organ. Photo: Elizabeth McFarlane.

The pipe organ inside St Finbar’s, which was dedicated on Sunday morning, 15 October 1995 by the then Parish Priest, Fr Brian Larkey, features the national floral emblems of England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland.

The pipes also carry crowns that feature the fleur-de-lis, “flower of the lily”. In Christian art, the lily is a symbol of chastity and purity attributed to the Virgin Mary.

The rose depicted on the organ has five petals, which represent the five senses, through which the spirit of the human being makes contact with the material world.

Looking up, the ceiling curves towards a sky light, which utilises earthly colours with spectacular effect.

“It’s one of those parishes you stumble upon but when you do, you realise it is such a welcoming and friendly parish,” Vince said.

The Diocesan Administrator, Very Rev Peter G Williams, gave the homily at the 50th Anniversary Mass on 3 April, detailing his hopes for the future of the parish: “May this parish continue to focus on its principal goal, which is to bring others to a knowledge of the love and mercy we know and experience in Jesus Christ, who God sent in the fullness of time to be our Saviour and Redeemer.”

The Society of St Vincent de Paul has a long history in the Glenbrook community, surpassing the establishment of the parish on 30 May 1965.

Vince Dobson has been a member of the society over many decades. “We’re celebrating 50 years as a parish but we’re celebrating 60 years with the Society of St Vincent de Paul,” he explained.

For more information about St Finbar’s parish, visit the website

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