By Michael Soh
For many years, parishioners of St Bernadette’s in Glendalough held gatherings outside the church, and large functions took place at the nearby LJ Goody Bioethics Centre.
The presbytery was unable to hold meetings of more than six people.
When the then-Archbishop Barry Hickey visited the parish for its 50th anniversary in 2011, the celebrations had to be celebrated at the Little Sisters of the Poor’s hall.
But from June 1, such gatherings and celebrations will now be held at St Bernadette’s new parish centre.
Auxiliary Bishop of Perth Don Sproxton blessed and opened the new parish centre after celebrating the 9am Mass, and mingled with parishioners afterwards.
While the morning tea on its opening is hopefully the first of many celebrations and gatherings in the parish centre, parish priest Fr Doug Harris told The Record two groups would be using the new facility on a regular basis.
“We will have the Marian Movement that meets on the first, second and third Tuesdays of the month. We also have our youth group that meets every second Tuesday,” Fr Doug said.
He also explained his vision for the newly-opened building.
“It’s going to be a community centre, to deepen relationships with the people here,” Fr Doug said.
“But also to facilitate more spiritual growth for all people, particularly the young people – maybe even children in the long term, also fathers groups and mothers groups.”
The new parish centre is also intended to facilitate catechism classes for children and adults, as well as receptions for special occasions such as baptisms, weddings, funerals, birthdays and anniversaries.
It is air-conditioned, and has a kitchen and toilets. According to Fr Doug, a lot of financial support is still needed to complete the project.
“The cost is $350,000, but we’ve raised about $150,000,” he explained.
“We’ve done raffles, we’ve done a dinner, but there’s more we need to do. But the people are quite generous, they’re still bringing money in and we are making the loan repayments at present.
“It will be a long-term project at the rate we are paying it off now. It would be nice to pay it off more quickly.”
Donations for the new parish centre can be made to St Bernadette’s Parish, 49 Jugan Street, Glendalough, or contact Fr Doug Harris on 9444 6131.