It was the end of one era and the beginning of another as St Andrew the Apostle Parish, Marayong, welcomed their third ever parish priest.
Fr Kevin Medilo sm was installed as parish priest by Bishop Vincent Long OFM Conv, Bishop of Parramatta, on the Fourth Sunday of Advent, 19 December 2021.
The church was almost at capacity in one of the parish’s biggest celebrations since the lifting of COVID restrictions earlier that week.
Concelebrating Mass alongside Bishop Vincent and Fr Kevin was the former parish priest, Monsignor Ron McFarlane, and Fr Kevin’s new assistant priest, Fr Kevin Redmond sm.
“Finally, Fr Kevin, and your confrere, we welcome you here to our Diocese, into this very vibrant community here at St Andrew’s,” Bishop Vincent said during the installation.
“Thank you for your kind acceptance of the offer to accompany the People of God here on the journey of Christian discipleship.
“We come with a sense of gratitude for what God has enabled us to do in this community of St Andrew’s, through the 33 years of care and servant leadership of Mons Ron McFarlane, now handing the baton over to the Marist Fathers, the two Kevin’s.
“We pray for them that the Holy Spirit may guide them as they nurture this community in the Gospel spirit.”
During his homily, Bishop Vincent explained that “all good things must come to an end” but encouraged the faith community to continue their commitment of support for their new pastors.
“With the installation of Fr Kevin, assisted by his Marist confrere, we celebrate a new chapter in the life of this parish community.
“We are saddened, somewhat, that after more than 30 years of distinguished service, it is time for Monsignor Ron McFarlane to enjoy a less hectic pace, even if he still has considerable duties as the elder priest and the stalwart of the Diocese.
“As the people of faith, we believe that good things come to an end to make way for better things to happen. I am sure that the Marist fathers will be generously supported and loved by you parishioners, just as you have loved and supported Mons Ron.”
As well as installing Fr Kevin, the Mass offered the parish an opportunity to farewell Monsignor Ron.
Monsignor Ron, who is currently administrator at Sacred Heart Parish, Mt Druitt South, was presented with a gift from the Parish Pastoral Council before thanking those who had journeyed alongside him, both past and present, to ensure the parish’s vision remained true.
“During my ministry here, I’ve been guided by some basic principles which were ingrained in me by my formation and the priests with whom I’d worked.
“The Second Vatican Council taught us the priest is teacher, sacramental facilitator and servant, which I interpret as a person who walks with his fellow parishioners.
“To me, the Church is not just the institution, and certainly not the priest. It is not the buildings, it is the people who make up the Church. And as a community, we express what the Church is all about…each person is important and has something to offer.
“While I do believe that the priest has a dispensable role in a parish community, he is not indispensable in himself. I’ve always tried to see my role as encouraging and empowering people, as we strive to work out together what direction we should move in and what was needed in this parish at a particular time.
“It is the people of this parish who have made it what it is today. These are the people who initially started this parish when nothing had existed here. These are also the people who currently make up this community.
“One of the treasures of this parish, and many of the parishes of our diocese, is the multicultural dimension of parish life, which I believe has brought with this a deeper commitment and love of the faith.
“You now have the wonderful opportunity to move into the future under the guidance of the Marist Fathers, who will bring with them new ideas, and that together, you will be able to build on the vision that has been established in this parish.
“Thank you for all the support, friendship and guidance you have given me. It has been a wonderful experience, which has unfortunately, but rightly, come to an end.”
In his message of thanks, Fr Kevin thanked Bishop Vincent for welcoming himself and Fr Redmond to the Diocese and for giving them the opportunity to serve in the parish.
On behalf of the parish, he expressed a deep gratitude to Monsignor Ron’s faithful service of and his encouragement and guidance of the new Marist Fathers as they take on their new responsibility.
“The boots of Monsignor Ron are huge, and we will need a lot of your support,” Fr Kevin explained.
“We need a lot of your prayers to invoke the Holy Spirit more to help me and help Fr Redmond.
“To all the parishioners, the different ministries, the parish groups, the Holy Family of Nazareth Sisters, the Parish pastoral council, the finance council – thank you for welcoming me and Fr Redmond into St Andrew’s Parish.
“Please include us in your prayers as we journey together in this parish.”
Following Mass, the parish community held a small celebration on the church grounds, with three festive pigs (lechón) and a two celebratory cakes the main attractions.
View images from Fr Kevin’s installation here or below.