The Catholic Church in Western Sydney and the Blue Mountains has welcomed its newest parish.
Holy Cross Parish, Granville was created on 14 September 2020 – the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross – as a result of the merger of Holy Trinity Parish, Granville and Holy Family Parish, East Granville.
But this new parish actually has a long history. The original parish, Holy Trinity, started in 1886. In 1946, the parish separated into two with the creation of Holy Family Parish. As reported on the Granville Parish website, in recent years both parishes recognised how, with a strong shared heritage and common sense of purpose, it would broaden and enliven their community to work together.
On announcing his decision to enact the merger, Bishop Vincent Long OFM Conv, Bishop of Parramatta congratulated Fr Andrew Bass, parish priest of the newly-established Holy Cross Parish. Since 2015, Fr Andrew has also been parish priest of both parishes.
Bishop Vincent told Fr Andrew he was looking forward to celebrating with the Granville Catholic community as soon as it was appropriate to do so.
“After consideration of the Presbyteral Council and taking advice from other members of the Curia, I am pleased to inform you that I have agreed to the erection of the new Parish in accordance with the provisions in Canon Law 515 §2,” Bishop Vincent wrote to Fr Andrew.
The name Holy Cross is the focal point for both churches. It recognises Jesus Christ, as a member of the Holy Family, and the second person of the Holy Trinity. It also links the schools of the parishes and their founders – Mary MacKillop from the Sisters of St Joseph, who took the name Mary of the Cross and the Patrician Brothers whose first school in Sydney was named Holy Cross.
As the parish website says, “The shape of the Cross itself, the two parts which make up one Cross, is a sign of the union of two communities to form a union dedicated to the service of God, to the Church and the wider community.”
The Granville Parish website gives some wonderful examples of how the twinning of the parishes in recent years has led to a stronger community, doing things they could not have done before. Each Good Friday, for example, the community walks from Holy Trinity Church to Holy Family Church, stopping to pray the Stations of the Cross at the homes of parishioners along the way.
They share parish fairs, outdoor movie nights, picnics, parties and carols by candlelight. Their annual volunteer drive now spans across the parishes, introducing new families to each other and forming friendships that would not otherwise have occurred.
Given the parishes have become so close over a number of years, the union will not result in any significant day to day changes for parishioners. Already the parish pastoral council and catechists have respectively joined with each other, and there is one parish bulletin and Facebook page. With less duplication, resources can be freed up to care for parishioners, pastoral work, the churches and parish buildings as well as put into more effective fundraising.
As stated on their website, the new parish is looking forward to the future. “We have a unique opportunity to show that we are proud of our Christian heritage, and more importantly that we are working together for a common outcome. We pray that all of us together will work with a sense of faith, hope, and love under the guidance of the Most Holy Family and the Most Blessed Trinity under the protection of the Holy Cross. We pray that they will bless our efforts and grant us the grace to sustain us now and into the future.”
With thanks to the Holy Cross Parish, Granville.