Fr Paul Smithers: Getting ready to make disciples

Reading Time: 2 minutes
Sydney City South Parish Priest Fr Paul Smithers. Photo: FIle Photo
Sydney City South Parish Priest Fr Paul Smithers. PHOTO: Catholic Archdiocese of Sydney

On 30 April, Sydney Archbishop Anthony Fisher OP issued Decrees merging the parishes of Rosebery, Redfern and Waterloo and in doing so created the new parish of ‘Sydney City South’. As the new parish begins we do not forget our history which links us to Archbishop Polding.

The process to becoming one parish was long and involved listening to many voices. In 2017, the parishes of Rosebery, Redfern and Waterloo started to collaborate together.

There had been discussion with the communities for some years prior about parish renewal but no decisions were ever made.

“People are drawn to beauty and it is the parish’s hope that the beauty of all three churches will draw people into the beauty of community life.”

All three parishes were geographically small, with declining numbers of parishioners and struggling financially. But this is not a story about merging three parishes together because they were small and unviable, that was certainly part of it, but the main reason was so that our worship and mission might be strengthened so that we could ‘go make disciples’ in an area that is rapidly being redeveloped and renewed.

The three parishes have actively worked together in creating a pastoral plan inspired by love, truth and beauty.

One focus of mission will be to support young families with the establishment of an Early Learning Centre which will open in January 2022 and new Parish Primary School which will open in January 2023 at the Rosebery site.

Igniting faith in inner city Sydney

A very exciting part of the redevelopment is the renovation of St Joseph’s Church and the restoration of the Shrine of Our Lady of Mt Carmel. St Joseph’s church will feature a new permanent marble altar alongside inspiring icons painted by Michael Galovic.

One of these icons depicts the paschal mystery of the life, death and resurrection of Christ and will be placed in the baptistry. At the historic Shrine of Our Lady of Mt Carmel, remediation work will reveal the beautiful sandstone for the first time in 160 years.

People are drawn to beauty and it is the parish’s hope that the beauty of all three churches will draw people into the beauty of community life.

The area is made up of different and varied groups of people, from Indigenous, families, university students and same sex attracted people. Our new parish aims to be a place of welcome, respect and support for all these people.

A priority of the new parish is to foster devotion and interest in the life of Servant of God Eileen O’Connor who lived, attended Mass and school in Waterloo. Her care for the poor was nurtured and encouraged at Waterloo.

Related Articles: