Heritage of 100 years celebrated at St Patrick’s Parish, Bondi

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Children marvel at the images forming part of a heritage display at St Patrick’s, Bondi, on 30 April. PHOTO: Giovanni Portelli

What do Captain America, the Book of Genesis, Aristotle, C S Lewis and St Francis de Sales have in common?

They all demonstrated the importance of friendship, Archbishop Anthony Fisher OP told those gathered on Sunday 30 April for the 100th Anniversary Mass of the foundation of St Patrick’s Parish in Bondi.

One of the bedrocks of a parish is the reality of friendship — of coming together and sharing in the breaking of the Eucharistic bread — Archbishop Fisher said in his homily.

“While the Eucharistic sacrifice and the community of the parish are about so much more than eating with our friends, they start with those very human realities as ‘grace builds on nature’.”

Drawing on the day’s Gospel reading—the Road to Emmaus—Archbishop Fisher said, “Captain America and Ironman are friends because they have fought together, struggled together, walked the road together. But as this morning’s Gospel makes clear, friendship is about more than taking the same route, engaging in some common task: the friendship Christ offered was deeply personal.”

Deep and abiding bonds of friendship were evident at the Centenary Mass, as parishioners of all ages — many of Irish descent — came together for the special occasion.

Many Sisters of St Joseph were present due to their long association with the parish. St Mary MacKillop had originally purchased the land on which St Patrick’s church is built and the Josephites taught in the parish school for many years.

Towards the end of his homily Archbishop Fisher said, “A century of parishioners here have taken Christ from here to the world and brought the world back to Him here, as a foretaste of the centenary of centenaries celebration at the end of time: the wedding feast of the Lamb of God.”

He continued saying, “In the meantime we need only open ourselves to friendship with God and our fellows, as St Patrick did, to a lived celebration of all that is good and true and beautiful.”

Following the Mass there was a morning tea in the parish hall where Happy Birthday was sung by the parishioners, and the Archbishop cut a specially made commemorative cake. The hall was decorated predominantly in green to honour their patron, St Patrick, and the Irish heritage of the parish.

Parish Administrator, Fr Andrew Benton, was pleased with how the day’s celebrations had unfolded. He said “great planning and preparation” had gone into the day and that the Mass had been both “very reverent” and “deeply personal” so that “everyone felt welcome.”

In his closing remarks the Archbishop said, “As I look out today at the many faces, young and old, that make up this parish, I know that this parish will be in good hands going forward.”

“I rely on the younger people here to remind others in 2067 about the celebration we had back in 2017. Perhaps one of the young faces I see here today may even be where I’m standing now!”