Our Lady Help of Christians celebrates 80 years of history
Auxiliary Bishop Don Sproxton holds a Papal Blessing next to parish priest Fr Arulraj Mulaguri at the 80th anniversary mass at Our Lady Help of Christians. Photo: Supplied.
By Caroline Smith
Parishioners of Our Lady Help of Christians in East Victoria Park have last year had much to celebrate as their church reached the formidable milestone of 80 years since its opening.
The anniversary celebrations included a Mass celebrated by Auxiliary Bishop Don Sproxton and a morning tea where members of the 380-strong congregation shared their favourite stories about the parish.
A special prayer card was handed out to commemorate the occasion.
The chairman of the organising committee, Dennis Kelly, said the celebration reflected both the changing demographics of the church community, and the caring approach it fosters.
“The parish is extremely proud of its history and the way the community has endeavoured always to look after its members,” Mr Kelly said.
Parishioners at Our Lady Help of Christians read the Prayers of the Faithful at their anniversary Mass. Photo: Supplied
“Over the years, the numbers of parishioners has fluctuated due to demographic changes and now we are seeing the return of younger members due to the suburb becoming more and more popular with city workers,” he added.
Mr Kelly went on to state that Bishop Sproxton’s homily during the Mass had emphasised the benefits of this rise in youth attendance, referring to it as a gift for the community.
Our Lady Help of Christians Parish opened in 1936 in an area steeped in Catholic history: the Sisters of Mercy have been present in the parish since 1899, opening St Joachim’s school and Our Lady of Mercy secondary college, together with the Christian Brothers’ school of St Francis Xavier College for boys.
In 1990, the schools amalgamated to form Ursula Frayne Catholic College, which provides both primary and secondary education.
Mr Kelly also explained that evidence of these historical connections could be noticed in the anniversary Mass and its attendees.
“The congregation of approximately 380 was comprised of representatives from the Sisters of Mercy who founded the parish school, members of the Sisters of St Joseph who have often worked in the parish over the years, and representatives of the Christian Brothers who founded the boys school in the parish at a later date,” he said.
“The parish has contributed to religious life in Perth, producing three priests and three nuns. One delightful note was the presence of many ex-parishioners, some of whom were students in the school in its early years, including one who attended in the very first year.”
Following the Mass, morning tea provided attendees with a repast, and an opportunity to talk about the church’s rich history.
After mass, attendees enjoyed a morning tea to celebrate the 80th anniversary at the east Victoria Park church. Photo: Supplied.
“The entire event was a great opportunity for people to talk about old times and meet younger parishioners,” Mr Kelly concluded.
A committee of 36 parishioners had been organising the anniversary celebrations with Parish Priest Father Arulraj Mulaguri since August 2015.