By Josh Low
Major upgrades to Willetton Parish’s Sts John and Paul Church were recently celebrated after the successful completion of the project lead by Parish Priest Father Thai Vu and Assistant Parish Priest Fr Christian Irdi.
Originally built as a parish centre in 1980 where Mass was celebrated to accommodate growing numbers of Catholics in the surrounding areas, the Church of Saints John & Paul was officially blessed and opened by then Archbishop of Perth, William Foley in 1985.
More than 30 years later, with the support of the Parish’s Pastoral Council and Liturgy and Finance Committees, the major upgrades of the Church and its surroundings were made to meet the growing needs of the parish community.
With the entire process taking some 18 months from start to finish, renovations to the Church building involved the construction of a new Church portico and entry, the renovation of leaking Church & hall roofs, the replacement of the original Church carpet from the 80s and the installation of a new marble sanctuary floor.
The renovations also included the demolition of the old presbytery and acquisition of an adjoining property which was renovated to become the new presbytery and the construction of a new parish driveway entry and turning circle in place of the former presbytery and the addition of a brand new toilet block near the Church.
Assistant Priest Fr Irdi explained that the addition of the portico allowed for a covered area for spill-over seating at Masses and for people to gather under before and after Mass.
“The portico and new driveway also allow hearses and wedding cars to park and load or unload occupants undercover.
“There was no such area before, with funeral directors having to push coffins up an incline to enter the Church,” he said.
“The construction of the ablutions block also adds convenience for the parishioners, particularly the elderly, given the proximity to the Church.”
Fr Irdi added that the hope is for the renovations to ‘give new impetus to the life of the Parish’ and that the beautifications undertaken might bring greater glory to God.
“We are confident that the new facilities will better meet the needs of the parish community, both now, and in the future.
“The parish community has been very supportive of the renovations and many have committed to various fundraising projects to help with meeting the cost.
“We are also very grateful to our architect Adrian de Lucia and builder John Totaro, as well as to parishioners John Sutton and Norman Curtis for their hard work and contribution,” he concluded.