A brief shower of rain early in proceedings did little to dampen the enthusiasm of parish priest Father Vinh Dong and parishioners as principal celebrant Archbishop Timothy Costelloe SDB celebrated Mass in honour of the 25th Anniversary of All Saints Church, Greenwood on November 24 this year.
Assistant priest Fr Quynh Do and resident priest Fr Tam Lai also assisted with celebration of Mass along with three other priests with previous connections to the parish.
Fr Vinh Dong welcomed the Archbishop on behalf of the congregation to what he declared was “… the best church in the diocese of Perth – or perhaps the second best next to your Cathedral.”
Prior to the building of the present church, the first parish priest, Fr Barry Whitely, arrived four decades ago, Fr Vinh said.
According to parish records, there had been 4,910 baptisms, 594 weddings and countless requiem Masses and liturgical celebrations at the parish since.
In his homily, the Archbishop encouraged the congregation to focus on three areas during the parish silver jubilee: looking back with pride and gratitude, and looking forward with hope.
“What would God want the parish to be?” he asked parishioners.
Reflecting on his recent visit to Rome with over 260 other bishops for the Synod of Bishops, he said they had examined the New Evangelisation for the transmission of the Christian faith.
The bishops agreed that the message of Jesus was the same as it was 2,000 years ago but what had changed was the context.
Fifty, 40 and even 30 years ago the values of faith were in harmony with society, Archbishop Costelloe said. As this was no longer the case, he challenged the congregation to ask themselves, “How can we find new ways to give the gift of faith?” He encouraged parishioners to think, pray and talk about the New Evangelisation.
Parishioner Bill Leonard gave a brief history of All Saints Parish. He said original meetings had to be held in parishioners’ homes and the first priest lived in Pullan Place in Greenwood; baptisms were held in St Theresa’s Church in Gwelup. Fr Barry Whitely proceeded to build a great community and the immediate needs of parishioners were met with the building of the
Mass centre in Hillwood Avenue, Warwick, until the mid-80s.
“Today, we are celebrating the building of our beautiful church, which was consecrated 25 years ago, in 1987,” Mr Leonard said.
Outdoor parish celebrations over the years included the moving enactment of the Passion and Death of Christ on Good Friday, and the family-orientated Vigil Mass at Christmas.
“Often, we have seen over 3,000 people attend on these occasions, a witness to the life of Christ,” Mr Leonard said. He thanked the 300 or so volunteers who helped make the vibrant parish work, adding, “You are the Church in action”.
Choir Director Estelle Dragun and the choristers provided uplifting music for the occasion. Prior to Mass, Mrs Dragun described her choir members as beautiful and committed people.
A slideshow of photos taken through the course of parish life was shown to all present. The changing face of the parish community at All Saints was evident by old photos of the all-boy altar servers that contrasted with three of the five altar servers being girls that evening.
Former parish priests including Fr Pat Ahern, Fr Peter Whitely, Fr Vincent Conroy and present parish priest Fr Vinh Dong were also seen.
There was a kaleidoscope of snapshots shown of previous and present assistant priests, seminarians, religious, parish groups and events as well. Afterwards, a well-attended parish party was joined by Archbishop Costelloe.
“You are sitting on a pile of wealth,” said Fr Cyprian Malongo, previously at All Saints as a seminarian, in reference to the richness of parish life he had experienced.