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Our Lady of Fatima, Peakhurst, is a wonderful example of partnership of priests and people working together to share the Good News, said Bishop Terry Brady, auxiliary bishop of Sydney.
Speaking at a 15 May Mass to mark the parish’s 50th anniversary, he noted that while the mission of the Church has not changed in those five decades, what has changed it how the mission is achieved.
The bishop shared his personal links to the region, including hunting for thistles to feed his pet canaries on the site of the current church.
He recalled the appointment of founding parish priest Fr Joe O’Shea, of Fr Ray Gatt’s work to develop a more independent community, and of the work of Fr Paul Jacobs and Fr John Crothers.
In 1988, Peakhurst became a parish without a resident priest. After an anxious two-year transition under the guidance of Fr Gatt, the parish continued to thrive.
Bishop Brady, Fr Crothers, and former assistants Fr Van Nguyen and Fr Maurice Thompson concelebrated the anniversary Mass.
“Peakhurst goes from strength to strength and is characterised by the generosity of its parishioners and the vision of its leaders, both clergy and laity,” said parishioner Julia Goff.
“We have had two remarkable parish priests, resident at St Declan’s, Penshurst, in Fr Paul Jacobs, sadly now deceased, and Fr John Crothers, as well as many assistant priests who have all contributed to the parish.”