St Monica’s celebrates 160th anniversary

By Mary Brazell, 21 May 2019
Bishop Vincent Long OFM Conv and Fr Clifford D'Souza cut a cake during celebrations for St Monica's 160th anniversary. Image: Mary Brazell/Diocese of Parramatta.


One of the oldest Australian Catholic communities has celebrated another milestone.

The Parish of Richmond gathered on Sunday 19 May to celebrate the 160th anniversary of St Monica’s Church.

View images from the celebrations here or below.

St Monicas Richmond 160 Years (150 of 157)

Bishop Vincent Long OFM Conv, Bishop of Parramatta, celebrated Mass at St Monica’s, which was concelebrated by parish administrator Fr Clifford D’souza, former parish priest and current rector of Holy Spirit Seminary Fr John Hogan and Fr Bob Anderson, former parish priest of St John the Evangelist Parish, Riverstone.

During his homily, Bishop Vincent reflected on Christ’s commandment of love from the Gospel (John 13: 31-35) and how we can learn from the early Christians.

Bishop Vincent Long OFM Conv during celebrations for St Monica’s 160th anniversary. Image: Mary Brazell/Diocese of Parramatta.

“The Gospel gives us a moving account of Jesus’ farewell discourse with his disciples. After Judas had gone to set in motion the drama of betrayal, arrest and crucifixion, Jesus spoke words of comfort and reassurance to them. There was no fear and anxiety on his part but rather a sense of fulfilment and purpose. Jesus exhorted his disciples to live by the example he had shown them. ‘I give you a new commandment: Love one another as I have loved you.’

“The command to love, of course, was not new. It had been the core teaching of Judaism. But it was the way Jesus lived it out that had the wedge of newness. In his embrace of the most vulnerable, despised and marginalised, Jesus defined or even redefined what true love meant. He embodied the God who loves without limits and empowers everyone without exception to live a life of dignity.

“Today, we joyfully gather to give thanks to God for the gift of this faith community, which was officially inaugurated some 160 years ago. Generations of Catholic faithful here have lived out their call to be a sign of God’s love and an oasis of hope. The institutional Church has lurched from one crisis to another.

“But here, the community of faith, hope and charity that you have sustained is the Church at the coalface. This Church nurtures, supports and transforms lives in so many ways. Despite all the challenges that we face going forward, we will not lose sight of what our faith in Jesus means and what being his living body means.

“There is much that we can learn from the early Christian community. As we lose much of what we have accumulated over the centuries, including our affluence and influence, let us not be afraid to learn anew the trust and love without limits,” Bishop Vincent said.

Fr Clifford D’souza during celebrations for St Monica’s 160th anniversary. Image: Mary Brazell/Diocese of Parramatta.

At the conclusion of Mass, Fr Clifford thanked Bishop Vincent and the concelebrating priests, representatives from the school communities and the parishioners who had helped organise the parish celebrations.

“To all my dear parishioners, visitors and friends who have come from near and far to participate in this 160th celebration of the building of St Monica’s – to all of you, a big thank you,” he said.

After Mass, morning tea was held in the ‘Old Church’, with photographs from the church’s 160 years displayed in photo albums and posters around the church.

Bishop Vincent, along with Fr Clifford and two young parishioners, cut a cake in celebration.

View images from the celebrations here or below.

St Monica's Richmond 160 Years Celebration (19.05.19)

Read Daily
* indicates required