Dear Fellow Parishioners,
Whenever we celebrate an historic event, such as the 50th Anniversary of our Church’s opening we imagine such an occurrence as happening so long ago that it can only have a remote connection to ourselves. We find it hard to admit that we may have lived a good deal of our lives within that period and, in fact, have taken part in significant moments of that not so remote past. I didn’t realize until the memorabilia began to be put together how much I had been a companion to this story from the time I arrived in Brookvale in the same year construction of the new church would have begun.
One of my young students quite early in 1967 asked me if I would like to come to his home for dinner and it turned out that his father, Bill O’Donnell, was the supervising architect for St. Kieran’s Church on behalf of Kevin Curtin and Partners. Bill had many stories dealing with Fr. Kieran O’Shea who kept an eagle eye on expenses as well as practical details such as changing the height of the platform for the high altar, even though the builders had been given different advice. Bill’s family recalls being woken very early one morning as their Dad answered the phone. They heard him say “Nose down like a Spitfire diving.” Mystified at what on earth he was talking about they learned that the caller was the builder, who had phoned to enquire which way the Holy Spirit figure should be attached to the front of the Lectern.
My next foothold into the history of the parish came about in 1983 when I was assigned here for 2 years to look after the youth group and join the parish team which at that time was led by Fr. Gerry Dullard. One highlight I remember was the Ordination and First Mass of Fr. Tony Banks which set a high liturgical standard for many similar occasions to follow.
In the 33 years since then many other Augustinians have contributed to the pastoral care of those who come into our Church to experience the risen Christ in prayer, the sacraments and community. This weekend we are not just celebrating a building that has been standing here for 50 years, but we are celebrating the lives of all the people who brought it about and continue to be like living stones being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. [1 Peter, 2:5]