Miranda Mass pays tribute to priests, teachers
The founding priest, Fr HW Slattery, and his successors, the teaching staff – lay and religious – and the students have all been honoured in a Golden Jubilee Mass celebrating the 50th anniversary of Our Lady Star of the Sea parish and school, Miranda.
The fledgling parish had no church and no school when Cardinal Gilroy sent Fr Slattery there, so the priest set about building both.
The first students at the school were taught by the Presentation Sisters, but in the second year, 1952, the Sisters of St Joseph of Orange, California, took over the teaching duties – a role they were to perform for the next 25 years.
Their efforts and the efforts of all who have served the parish were remembered in the homily at the Jubilee Mass by the Archbishop of Sydney, Dr George Pell, who was principal celebrant.
A number of priests who had worked in the parish concelebrated – parish priest Fr Kelvin Lovegrove and former parish priest Fr John O’Keefe, plus Fr Tom Fennell, Fr Kevin Walsh and Fr Danny Meagher.
Fr John Stack, who built a new parish church and presbytery and extensions to the school, Fr Ken Sargent and Fr O’Keefe were remembered especially on the day, along with the many assistant priests and deacons who have made their mark on the parish.
The congregation of 500 people who packed the Miranda church also welcomed the return of the Sisters of St Joseph of Orange, California, honouring their involvement with the school and the parish.
Even though they ended their teaching role at the school in 1977, the Sisters remained actively involved in the parish until 1995.
Their “witness and dedication is evident in our lay teachers who now carry on the tradition of faith of the Sisters”, said Fr Kelvin Lovegrove.
The Sisters, parishioners, school teachers and children all played a role in the Mass, reflecting their “strong involvement since the reforms of Vatican II”, he said. The children of Our Lady Star of the Sea Primary School charmed everyone by proudly singing their new school song, which they all had a hand in composing and recording (with a little bit of help) for the occasion.
Fr Kelvin said: “The celebration was a reflection of the faith, dedication and hard work of the entire parish community, and a tribute to all who had contributed to parish life at Our Lady Star of the Sea, Miranda, for the last 50 years.”