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Four communities become a Holy Family

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Surveys showed that 92 per cent of parishioners were in favour of the amalgamation and the choice of the new parish name. Photo: Patrick J Lee
Surveys showed that 92 per cent of parishioners were in favour of the amalgamation and the choice of the new parish name. Photo: Patrick J Lee

Holy Family Catholic Parish Mosman is Sydney’s newest parish, born from some of our oldest faith communities.

Archbishop Anthony Fisher OP signed a decree to formally join the parishes of Sacred Heart Mosman, Blessed Sacrament Clifton Gardens, St Joseph’s Neutral Bay and St Therese Beauty Point into the one amalgamated parish of Holy Family Catholic Parish Mosman.

The amalgamation came after much consultation with members from the four parishes, with an overwhelming number giving it their support.

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Prior to the decree the parishes were looked after by the same priests and the one parish office located at the Mosman church under the name of the Parishes of Sydney Harbour North.

Newly-ordained assistant priest Fr Matthew Lukaszewicz last month celebrated his Thanksgiving Mass at the Sacred Heart church with parishioners from across the different churches and Mass times.

A new parish logo is being designed, incorporating symbols representing the four churches, and plans are already underway for a celebration Mass with Archbishop Anthony Fisher OP in December and a parish walking pilgrimage early next year.

“This change marks a new chapter in our parish and we look forward to sharing resources and working even more closely together to support and make sure our community thrives,” said Holy Family Parish priest Fr Philip Linder.

“The parishioners were surveyed over several weeks early in the year and 92 percent were in favour of the amalgamation and the choice of Holy Family as the new parish name.

“The name Holy Family draws from the names of our churches – as three of our church names refer to members of the Holy Family.

“What better family to model our new parish on!”

The parish also includes two schools, Blessed Sacrament Primary School at Clifton Gardens and Sacred Heart Primary School at Mosman, a thriving sacramental program and RCIA program and catechists that reach more than 400 children in the area’s public schools.

The Catholic story in the area began in 1899 with Fr Francis Timoney, who was appointed the first parish priest of the parish of Mosman and Neutral Bay.

In the early 2000s Blessed Sacrament parish at Clifton Gardens entered into a partnering arrangement with Sacred Heart Mosman and St Joseph’s Neutral Bay and the cluster of parishes became known as the Parishes of Sydney Harbour North under the leadership of Fr Terrence Brady before he was consecrated a bishop in 2007, after which Fr Linder became the new parish priest.

Holy Family Parish priest Fr Philip Linder with assistant priest Fr Matthew Lukaszewicz. Photo: Patrick J Lee
Holy Family Parish priest Fr Philip Linder with assistant priest Fr Matthew Lukaszewicz. Photo: Patrick J Lee

Beauty Point later joined the Parishes of Sydney Harbour North.

Effectively operating as a single parish already, united under the leadership of Fr Linder and with one secretary and one sacramental coordinator, the amalgamation now streamlines the administration and makes better use of community’s resources.

“Part of why I think it has gone so smoothly is that people thought we running as one parish anyway, and with the extra advantages that amalgamation would bring, everyone thought well why not?” said Fr Anderson.

“This parish has been my first appointment since ordination last year, and it’s been great to work with Fr Phil [Linder]who knows the ropes and is well-established here. Everyone gets along well.”

Parish secretary Theresa Wilkins said she feels “incredibly blessed” to work with Fr Linder, his assistant priests Fr Matthew and Fr Mark Anderson, and all the parish staff and volunteers.

“We have a great team and it’s a wonderfully hospitable and busy parish with never a dull moment,” she said.

Parishioner Wilma Costelloe has lived in the area since 1962, when she settled at Beauty Point with her husband Michael and three young boys.

She now lives at MacKillop Grange Retirement Village on the grounds of Sacred Heart.

Serving over the years as in a variety of roles, such as a Eucharistic minister and reader, Mrs Costelloe has since slowed down but maintains a keen interest in the parish and is full of praise for Fr Linder.

“He makes an effort to talk to everybody and I think perhaps a little more effort to include the non-Catholics who live here,” she said.

“That means a lot to some of the quieter people who are living alone. And I think that’s rather wonderful that Fr Phil will just turn up to have a coffee with us and show his interest.”

Archdiocesan Parish Renewal Manager Elliott Bowen said that the creation of Holy Family Catholic Parish Mosman is “a beautiful example of a community deciding to come together to share their spiritual gifts and resources.”

“Parishioners can certainly benefit and a parish can strengthen its ability to serve the mission of Christ by working more closely with others, whether through greater collaborations with other parishes or amalgamations such as this one,” Mr Bowen said.

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