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Rooty Hill parish is Adoration’s latest home

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Father Doug Harris, Fr Hugh Thomas CSsr, Michelle Firth and Vivien Watts work to spread perpetual adoration throughout Australia. Photo: Giovanni Portelli
Father Doug Harris, Fr Hugh Thomas CSsr, Michelle Firth and Vivien Watts work to spread perpetual adoration throughout Australia. Photo: Giovanni Portelli

Establishing chapels of Perpetual Eucharistic Adoration has been Fr Hugh Thomas’ life’s work.

A Redemptorist Missionary Priest for 57 years, he has inspired more than 40 centres in parishes around the world including the Philippines, Singapore and Indonesia but last week brought his vocation a little closer to home.

He launched a Eucharistic Mission at St Aidan’s at Rooty Hill, inspiring parishioners to be present before Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

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Joined by Fr Doug Harris, a diocesan priest based at Glendalough in Perth, the parish was treated to a full program of activities including a healing night, talks on Eucharistic miracles, Novenas to Our Lady of Perpetual Help, Holy Hours, workshops and Masses.

“He said there were less than 20 perpetual adoration centres across the world in 1989 and now there were more than 3000.”

For Fr Hugh, who has conducted contemplative and Eucharistic retreats for many years, they are a means of reigniting a parish community.

He said there were less than 20 perpetual adoration centres across the world in 1989 and now there were more than 3000. “It’s the fastest growing movement in the Church in many countries,” he said.

“For example, in Indonesia I would give a retreat to the Bishop and priests of the Diocese before promoting adoration to the people.

“One night during the retreat the priests were rostered to keep Jesus company throughout the night and He touched some of these priests very deeply throughout that experience.

Father Doug Harris, Fr Hugh Thomas CSsr, Michelle Firth and Vivien Watts pray in the new Perpetual Adoration Chapel at Rooty Hill parish. Photo: Giovanni Portelli
Father Doug Harris, Fr Hugh Thomas CSsr, Michelle Firth and Vivien Watts pray in the new Perpetual Adoration Chapel at Rooty Hill parish. Photo: Giovanni Portelli

“Jesus blesses those who come to visit Him. He lifts up their spirits, sometimes heals them physically, helps them solve their problems and inspires many of them to reach out to others in various forms of charity.”

Fr Thomas’ missionary work has taken him to many countries, travelling from village to village preaching, administering the sacraments and training lay leaders.

He settled back in Australia about 15 years ago, originally conducting retreats and parish missions in Perth before settling in Sydney.

Prior to COVID, he was still spending a couple of months each year in Indonesia and Singapore giving retreats to priests and promoting adoration of the Blessed Sacrament.

“I have wanted perpetual adoration in the parish for many years and once the renovation was done it seemed like the right time.”

Parish priest Fr Alan Layt said perpetual adoration was something he had wanted in his western Sydney parish for many years.

Built 40 years ago by Fr Norm Grady and opened by Cardinal Freeman, the church underwent a divine renovation by architect John O’Brien during the COVID lockdown producing a heavenly haven.

“I have wanted perpetual adoration in the parish for many years and once the renovation was done it seemed like the right time,” he said.

“A number of parishioners have also been asking for it so we now have the capacity to have adoration in the whole church during the day and overnight adoration in the small chapel built during lockdown.”

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