Draft:St Andrew the Apostle Catholic Church, Marayong

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St Andrew the Apostle Catholic Church, Marayong
St Andrew's, Marayong
St Andrew the Apostle Statue in Marayong.jpg
St Andrew the Apostle Catholic Church, Marayong is located in Australia
St Andrew the Apostle Catholic Church, Marayong
St Andrew the Apostle Catholic Church, Marayong
St Andrew the Apostle Catholic Church, Marayong is located in New South Wales
St Andrew the Apostle Catholic Church, Marayong
St Andrew the Apostle Catholic Church, Marayong
33°44′54″S 150°53′16″E / 33.7482°S 150.8879°E / -33.7482; 150.8879Coordinates: 33°44′54″S 150°53′16″E / 33.7482°S 150.8879°E / -33.7482; 150.8879
Location40 Breakfast Road, Marayong, Sydney, New South Wales, 2148
DenominationRoman Catholic Church Latin Rite
StatusParish church
DedicationSt Andrew the Apostle
ParishSt Andrew's Marayong
DioceseRoman Catholic Diocese of Parramatta

St Andrew the Apostle Catholic Church, Marayong, more commonly referred to as St. Andrew's, is a local parish in the Catholic Church, located at 40 Breakfast Road, Marayong, within the local government area of greater metropolitan, Sydney.[1] The parish more closely belongs to the Roman Catholic Diocese of Parramatta, currently presided over by the Most Reverend Vincent Long Van Nguyen OFM Conv. The parish has evolved considerably in relation to its architecture, practice and ministry, community and ethnic make-up of parishioners.[2][3] The parish has undergone major developmental changes from its conception in 1961 to be able to hold its growing congregation.[3][4]

St. Andrew's remains as a local church that fosters faith expression and cultivates a community of faith-led Christians.[5] The parish maintains a solid respect and admiration of their patron saint, Saint Andrew the Apostle, who is commemorated as a devout early follower of Christ.[1][6] The parish also engages in various forms of spiritual observances which connect with its multiculturally and generationally diverse community.[7][1][4] Accordingly, the parish is acclaimed for its vast support and encouragement of migrant chaplaincies and cultural religious groups.[7] The local church is involved in multiple religious support groups and ministries which embody and demonstrate their faith and sense of community.[2]


St Andrew's is situated some kilometres north-west of Blacktown in the suburb of Marayong. It was started as a temporary division of the larger Blacktown parish to be officially established as the combined area Parish of Doonside and Quakers Hill on February 1st, 1961.[1]The Parish of Doonside was then opened separately in January 1963, likewise for the Parish of Quakers Hill a decade later in 1973. On November 5, 1961, the first Mass was celebrated and again on November 5, 1977, after the church's first reconstruction. The church then underwent further needed expansion to accommodate the growing population in the 1990s.[3] The current church structure was blessed and dedicated on May 14th, 1994.[1] In terms of additional development for the architecture of the parish, there has been little discussion for a complete rebuilding and rearrangement of the parish buildings to occur in the future.

The current land which the Parish of St Andrew's occupies was historically a dairy farm that reached from Richmond Road to Breakfast Creek. This vast space has allowed for the accommodation of "the church, the hall, meeting rooms (the Fr Byrne Centre), a Catholic primary school and a Catholic secondary school on the one property."[1] Monsignor Ron has stated the parish's fortunate state to have had the involvement of the Sisters of the Holy Family of Nazareth from its commencement as they were instrumental in providing education for the connecting schools and support for Fr Kenneth, the founding Parish Priest.[5] Accordingly, the assistance of the Patrician Brothers has also been fruitful through their leading guidance for the John Paul II Senior High School (now referred to as St Andrew's Senior campus) in the 1980s, the first senior high school in the Diocese of Parramatta.[3]

Timeline overview[edit]

Current altar setup during Easter celebrations (2019)
Year Date Developmental Change[3]
1954 26th August Arrival of the Sisters of the Holy Family of Nazareth in Marayong
1955 St Anthony's Italian Chapel built by workers on the site of the Italian Electric Power Transmission (EPT) as a standing memorial for those killed in work-related accidents[8]
1956 8th April His eminence N.T Cardinal Gilroy, Archbishop of Sydney[9] blessed corner stone of the Holy Family Children's Home and Convent[10]
1957 20th January Building of the Holy Family Children's Home and Convent completed and now occupied[11]

Holy Family School opened on the Quakers Road site with its founding Principal Sr Mary Leonette SCFN

1961 1st February Parish of St Andrew's Marayong came into existence

Parish of Blacktown separated area specifically formed as the Parish of Doonside and Quakers Hill Parish Priest officially appointed as Fr Kenneth Byrne (located at the current site of St Andrew's Parish)

Cottage on Holy Family property made as first presbytery (residence of a Catholic parish Priest). This was later removed to be placed on the other side of the property as the residence of the Polish Chaplain

31st March Presbytery located at 17, Earle Street, Doonside

After it's official establishment in February, the parish Church functioned as a small, local community of worship. Sunday Masses and weekday Masses were allotted.

The altar was donated by Mister Scully and altar equipment was donated by Fr Roche from Broadway.

5th November First Mass celebrated at interim parish Church of St Andrew's at 40 Breakfast Road, Marayong

The parish community, who was active and resolute to offer labour and time, set up the Altar Society, the Holy Name Society, the Sacred Heart Sodality and Children of Mary.[3]

Alongside this, the parish was able to acquire a safe for its sacred belongings and hold its first CYO meeting.[3]

1962 30th Jan The connecting school was open for enrolments on the 30th of January.

St Vincent de Paul Society formed within the parish and had its first meeting. The parish community began fundraising for a Tabernacle for the Church of St Andrew's.

15th April His eminence N.T Cardinal Gilroy, Archbishop of Sydney[9] blessed the Holy Family School on Quakers Road at its official opening

Sunday evenings were dedicated to holding parish devotions and a barbecue was organised on the church grounds for the celebration of the Feast of Mary, Help of Christians, demonstrating the roots of a flourishing congregation.[3]

1st November Between August and October 21st, the parish was able to commence and form a certified parish bank. The Presbytery was moved to 35 Breakfast Road for the parish Priest to reside.[3]Presbytery located at 35 Breakfast Road, Marayong
1963 1st January Doonside inaugurated individual parish (St Bernadette's Catholic Church, Lalor Park)[12] and was led by Fr Watts on January 27th.
29th Jan The Holy Family school now officially reopened on January 29th. Perpetual Novena liturgies began in February.

The Parish Finance Committee established to balance, manage and plan the financial security of the parish.

28th September The first sacrament of First Holy Communion was celebrated for the children enrolled in the Holy Family School[3]
November Permanent Presbytery located at 29 Breakfast Road, Marayong
1964 July - October Masses celebrated in Latin alternated between the early morning and evening service on Sunday from July to mid-August. The new English text for the Mass commenced on the 26th of July and the Silver Circle was introduced to the Parish community. The Parish mission was devised and broadcasted in October to affirm the parish's spiritual, pastoral and communal commitments.
1965 1st January First curate (assistant for the parish Priest) appointed - Reverend J. Sullivan
23rd February St Andrew's Kindergarten initiated on Breakfast Road
1966 February Stage Two Primary School opened
27th December Polish Chapel, Church of Our Lady of Czestochowa, on Quakers Road consecrated
1967 31st January Holy Family High School opened (currently known as St Andrew's College, Marayong) on Quakers Road

Founding Principal: Sr. M. Grace Ruszkowska CSFN

20th August St Andrew's Convent launched
1969 November Presbytery moved to 40 Breakfast Road
1973 1st January Quakers Hill formed separate parish (Mary Immaculate Catholic Church, Quakers Hill)[13]
1977 10th January Reconstruction of Parish Church commenced
5th November First Mass in reconstructed Church of St Andrew's celebrated
1977 29th November Church of St Andrew's opened and blessed by Cardinal Freeman
1981 28th January John Paul II Senior High School (currently known as St Andrew's College, Marayong) established at 40 Breakfast Road. Founding Principal: Br. Stephen Aitken (Patrician Brother)
1988 19th October Monsignor Ron McFarlane appointed as second Parish Priest
1990 2nd September Blessing and Grand Opening of Polish Nursing Home[14] (currently known as Holy Family Aged Care)
1993 Extensions for Parish Church begun
1994 March First Mass celebrated in finalised extended and renovated Church

Statute of St Andrew the Apostle donated partially by Assissian Society

14th May Bishop Bede Heather gave the official blessing for renovated Church during 6 pm Vigil Mass
1995 24th April Stations of the Cross Triptych created by a fellow parishioner (Lita Picart) was blessed at the 10:15 am Mass
1996 17th December First Parish Priest Father Kenneth Byrne passed away
1997 Renovation of the former convent into 'Parish Meeting Rooms'. These rooms were named 'The Father Byrne Centre' (FBC) after the founding parish Priest
1998 8th March Bishop Kevin Manning gave official blessing and launch of St Andrew's College (as the amalgamation of Holy Family High School and John Paul II Senior High School)

Founding College Principal: Dr John DeCourcy

2001 November New Parish Offices Opened
2008 Opening of additional extensions to the Parish Offices and renovation of new Gathering Area and Amenities Block

New Long Day Child Care Centre blessed officially

2009 19th January New Holy Family Aged Care finished and opened

Over 3 000 families living within local boundaries as permanent parish members (10 000 parishioners)[3]

2019 January Between 2 300 to 2 400 people attending Mass at St Andrew's Parish on any given weekend

Church Community[edit]

St Andrew the Apostle, as the patron saint of the local church, has a celebrated role in the parish's liturgy and community as an illustration of Christian living.[3][6] St. Andrew's, from its conception in 1961, has demonstrated themselves as "an active and welcoming Catholic community where people of all ages draw closer to God. His love is expressed through each one of us by prayer, liturgy and reaching out in service to one another" as per professed in their current mission statement.[1][2] Currently led by Monsignor Ron McFarlane, the parish Priest corroborates the embracing nature of the community.[2] Furthermore, the Church of St Andrew's nurtures the significance of vocation in Christian living, as depicted through the ongoing encouragement concerning the importance of discerning their mission within the Christian faith.[15][2]

“We are fortunate to have so many people in the parish who have the faith so central to their lives. The parishioners are more and more seeing themselves as the Church and taking ownership of the parish. It’s not just ‘I’m a person that comes to Mass’, to a lot of them, it is their parish, they are responsible for it, and I think that’s one of the big things that we’ve achieved."

— Msr. Ron McFarlane, [1]
Current altar setup during Christmas celebrations (2017)

The parish staff and clergy have recognised the parishioners as 'the best part of the parish', due to their eagerness to help and "live out our mission statement of being welcoming, which they are,” as put by staff-member Joe.[1] The parish - comprising of parishioners, staff and assisting Priests - is admittedly relied on by Monsignor Ron for the execution of liturgy and the fulfilment of pastoral needs[1][2]. This is mostly the case as a result of the parish Priest's multiple diocesan obligations, such as his capacity as Chancellor of Administration in the Diocese.[1][9]


During the span of a weekend, approximately 2 400 people attend the services provided at St Andrew's.[1] The church celebrates the Mass as the central form of spiritual worship and holds four routine weekend services. The times for Novena, Vigil, Youth and Special feast masses, along with Sacrament of Penance and Holy hour services are updated regularly on the official parish website.[2]

“I think the parish has been able to take forward the vision that Fr Kenneth Byrne had for it, in that it has a church, a schooling system from Kindergarten to Year 12 and facilities for people to congregate and meet,”

— Joyce Inglis - Parish Coordinator, [1]

According to the parish, it has one of the highest Mass attendance of any parish in the diocese at about 27%.[1] The parish also holds "parish-based and family-based" programs for the central sacramental rites observed in the Catholic Church.[2] These are offered each year to initiate fellow parishioners into the Church and profess a united belief as a faith community.

Growing Multiculturalism[edit]

The ethnic diversity of St Andrew's congregation has been a notable characteristic of the parish during the past 60 years.[1] It has been recorded in 1961, its cultural make up comprised of Maltese, Italians, Anglo-Irish, Australian, Polish and a small portion of Chinese.[1] Whereas, the current (2019) make up is primarily made up of Filipinos, Indians, Australians, Sri Lankans, South American and many others of central European heritage.[1]

The parish, which is known as a "church of migrants", is heavily influenced by Australia's vast migrant background.[7][16] Monsignor Ron, who is the Episcopal Vicar for Migrant Chaplaincies in the Parramatta Diocese, revealed how these various forms of expressions of faith contribute to the Catholic expression as "enriching cultural gifts".[7] The Diocese of Parramatta, in particular, is praised for its wide support which aims to soothe the cultural unfamiliarity faced by migrants families in their efforts to share their customs and create a better sense of belonging.[7] The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops statement communicates the substantial development in devotion and worship that is supported by immigrant communities who celebrate liturgies in their native languages and share cultural practices.[7] [16]The parish of St Andrew's harmonises with the establishment of such Chaplaincies to allow for a greater level of welcome into local churches in providing a "familiar expression of faith". For example, the Filipino Chaplaincy celebrates weekly Masses within the Parramatta Diocese, a special Christmas Dawn Novena Masses and Fiesta celebrations. Likewise, the Tamil Chaplaincy celebrates Mass on the last Sunday of the month, arranges large feast celebrations and special retreats and facilitates children’s Bible classes. There is also a Chaplaincy to the African Catholic Community for diverse African communities in the Diocese to support and integrate their culture into their faith practice.[7]


However, the parish has admitted to conforming to a restricted sense of devotion recently.[1] Staff member Joyce acknowledged, "Sometimes our parish and prayer groups become insular, and we have to remind ourselves not to be insular but to be welcoming and all-inclusive."[2][16]

Youth Devotion[edit]

There is an increasing scale of youth works in the parish and youth ambassadorship.[2][5][4] Young people who are dedicated to embracing their spirituality have formed youth groups to gather in praise and worship, conduct Bible studies, draw closer in their relationship with God and spread their faith through missionaries, social justice and Christian gatherings.[1][4] The parish consistently works to benefit from the proximity of the primary and secondary schools by learning how to engage with a younger generation of devotion and fulfil the pastoral needs of young Christians.[3][5]

Poster of local youth-led support group

“It works wonderfully well. We’ve got around 1,800 students on the grounds. On Tuesdays, one of the homerooms from the senior high school campus comes to our weekday Mass. On Wednesdays, a homeroom from the junior campus comes to Mass. The primary school are now looking into doing the same thing for themselves. It makes it easier if the students are doing lessons on the meaning of the Mass or what’s in a church – they just walk down,”

— Msr. Ron McFarlane, [1]


Although the local church is filled with entire families being involved in Mass celebrations and sacramental programs, it also faces its challenges concerning its interaction with youth at Marayong.[4] Joe claimed, “I think we need to be engaging the 20-to-30-year-olds and the newly married people who don’t tend to come back to the parish until they’ve got their own kids that they want them baptised."[1] This outlines the growing secular trends of faith in Australia, similar to Monsignor Ron who stated he wished to connect with “Not just the parents of primary school kids, but parents who went to school in the 1980s and 1990s.[4] It’s all very well to say we focus on the young people, but in many cases, if the parents aren’t practising at home, their younger children aren’t going to see the faith that is important to themselves.”[1][5]

Support Groups and Ministries[edit]

Statue of Divine Heart of Jesus located in local Marayong church

The parish is involved in a variety of support, formation and prayer groups to further facilitate their community's needs and engagement.[1][2] The parish places great emphasis on faith education for non-Catholics, particularly those interested in discerning Christianity for themselves.[2] It also emphasises reintroduction to the faith for Catholics wishing to undertake further enlightenment.[2][6] Their recently initiated Faith Sharing Discussion Group explores broad and specific topics concerning the Church, its traditions and beliefs.[3] The church has also committed to a weekly Sunday School for children and young adults to learn and practically respond to their faith.[5] Parishioners have participated in reflection groups during seasons of religious emphasis, such as Lent and Advent.[2]

As aforementioned, the youth engagement is substantial as they engage in Youth Masses and a Youth Works groups to advocate and hold youth events to address issues concerning young people and invite other young people to the faith.[2] The parish also offers a youth group for young children and adults, named SAY WAT (St. Andrew's Youth Word And Teaching), which meets monthly to cultivate a connected community of like-minded aspiring young people wishing to explore their faith and church involvement[1][5] [4]The youth hold multiple fundraisers for social groups in need and build a secure place of belonging for each faith expression.[1][17]

The ministry of the parish is quite active in their contribution to the wider community and Church, whilst living out the parish's mission of service and faith.[2] This is illuminated in the Catechism program where volunteers undertake the responsibility of faith instruction at local public schools. Furthermore, the Music Ministry led by the Music Committee, aids the congregation during Mass services to actively participate in worship hymns and reflectional singing.[2][6] St Andrews also has a vibrant liturgical ministry with Acolytes, almost 150 Eucharistic ministers, Altar servers, Readers, Commentators and other servers.[2]

St Andrews is also known for its dedication to the St Vincent de Paul Society as they hold multiple meetings each month of willing volunteers who address the concerns of the underprivileged.[2] Groups are involved in house calls to deliver parcels of food and essentials which are donated by the church community and implements an annual Winter Appeal and Christmas Appeal which relies on the generosity of parishioners to provide additional support for needful families.[18] The staff has noted, "the parishioners are very generous. When our St Vincent de Paul Society needed gifts for Christmas, there was an abundance."[1][4]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z Brazell, M (2019). "Parish profile: St Andrew the Apostle, Marayong – a welcoming community drawing closer to God". Catholic Outlook. Retrieved 12 April 2019.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s Staff (2019). "St Andrew the Apostle Catholic Church". Retrieved 2 April 2019.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n St. Andrews Parish (2009). The History of St Andrew The Apostle Parish Marayong. Sydney: St. Andrews Parish. pp. 1–4.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h Rymarz, Richard; Graham, John (1 April 2005). "Going to church: attitudes to church attendance amongst Australian core Catholic youth". Journal of Beliefs & Values. 26 (1): 55–64. doi:10.1080/13617670500047657. ISSN 1361-7672.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g Brazell, M (2019). "Priest profile: Reverend Monsignor Ron McFarlane - empowering the people of Marayong". Catholic Outlook. Retrieved 12 April 2019.
  6. ^ a b c d S.D, Lavery (2012). "The Catholic school principal: A transcendent leader?". Journal of Catholic School Studies: 84 (1), 36-42.
  7. ^ a b c d e f g Younes, J (2018). "Migrant Chaplaincy". Catholic Outlook. Retrieved 12 April 2019.
  8. ^ Church (2019). "Journey to a New Life – Italian Migration in NSW | NSW Migration Heritage Centre". Migrationheritage.nsw.gov.au. Retrieved 12 April 2019.
  9. ^ a b c Boland, T.P (2019). "Catholic Australia - Gilroy, Sir Norman Thomas (1896 - 1977)". Catholicaustralia.com.au. Retrieved 2 April 2019.
  10. ^ n.f. (2018). "A Cardinal and Servant – Norman Thomas Gilroy". Thesydneyinstitute.com.au. Retrieved 2 April 2019.
  11. ^ APH (2019). "National Directory of Records of Catholic Organisations Caring for Children Separated from Families". aph.gov.au: 33.
  12. ^ Staff (2019). "St Bernadette's Catholic Church". Retrieved 12 April 2019.
  13. ^ Staff (2019). "Mary Immaculate Catholic Church". Retrieved 12 April 2019.
  14. ^ Staff (2019). "Holy Family Services - Aged Care". Holy family services. Retrieved 20 April 2019.
  15. ^ "What is a vocation? | Vocation Centre". Retrieved 16 May 2019.
  16. ^ a b c Mendes, Philip (1 January 1997). "Economic Rationalism, the Churches and the Politics of Welfare". Melbourne Journal of Politics. 24: 141. ISSN 0085-3224.
  17. ^ Blakemore, Tamara; Herbert, James Leslie; Arney, Fiona; Parkinson, Samantha (1 December 2017). "The impacts of institutional child sexual abuse: A rapid review of the evidence". Child Abuse & Neglect. The Australian Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse. 74: 35–48. doi:10.1016/j.chiabu.2017.08.006. ISSN 0145-2134.
  18. ^ "Our Impact - St Vincent de Paul Society - Good Works". www.vinnies.org.au. Retrieved 29 May 2019.