The Pallottine order celebrated the 50-year anniversary of the canonisation of its founder at the Queen of Apostles Catholic Church in Riverton on Friday.
A crowd of about 250 attended the Golden Jubilee celebration Mass which was concelebrated by Archbishop Timothy Costelloe SDB and 16 other priests, including three Pallottines.
During his homily, Archbishop Costelloe said St Vincent Pallotti’s desire for all Catholics to be involved in the Church’s mission was both unique and fundamental to the faith.
“Priests and religious and a small band of committed lay people cannot on their own fulfil the mission which Christ has given to his whole Church – to carry the message of the Gospel to every corner of the world,” Archbishop Costelloe said.
The Archbishop challenged those present to reflect upon their lives and what they could do to become authentic apostles in the world and the Church.
“Every baptised person … has been chosen by God, consecrated by God, filled with God’s Holy Spirit in order to go out into our world … and share the extraordinary gifts of the faith with others,” he said.
“We can learn about God … not just by reading books but by looking at people like Vincent Pallotti and seeing what a response to God looks like in action.”
The Pallottine Fathers have been in charge of the Riverton parish since it was established back in 1951.
Local parishioner Bill Spence, a lay member of the Union of Catholic Apostolate (UAC) founded by St Vincent Pallotti, said having the Pallottines in charge of the parish was wonderful.
“There’s always something happening in this parish,” he said.
“Every night of the week there’s at least one meeting, and there are activities on the weekends as well.”
Mr Spence said his role in the UAC was primarily to contribute to his parish and diocese.
“It’s a matter of getting people more involved … which was the main charism of St Vincent Pallotti,” he said. St Vincent Pallotti (1795–1850) was known for his love of the poor, dedication to educating the youth, and his desire to encourage all people to be active participants in the mission of the Church.
After being ordained in 1818, Pallotti founded the UAC in 1835, a group of both religious and lay people devoted to the revival of the faith and the unity of all people in Christ.
The UAC now has more than 2,000 members throughout the world.
Vincent Pallotti was beatified in 1950 by Pope Pius XII and canonised on January 20, 1963 by Pope John XXIII.
Pallottine priests and brothers arrived in Australia from the German province in 1901 to minister to the Aboriginal people in the Kimberley.
Since then the order has spread to various locations throughout Western Australia, as well as to Victoria where it has several houses.
However, Fr Eugene San SAC, regional superior of the Pallotines, said the work of his order in Western Australia has slowly diminished in recent times.
Fr San said the Pallottines moved out of the Kimberley around 2006, a few years after they celebrated their 100-year anniversary of arrival in WA.
“Unfortunately we haven’t had any vocations, so it was hard to maintain … we just don’t have the numbers to man it,” he said.
“We’ve still got a house in Geraldton … but even that’s dwindling.
“The focus of our apostolic work is now over in the east, mainly through parish work and lay apostolate.”
But Fr San said the Pallottines intend to continue at the Riverton parish.
“This parish was started by the Pallottines over 60 years ago, so we have a long history here,” he said.
“[Our parishes] will be the last places we relinquish.”