Saint Teresa of Calcutta Church dedicated and blessed
Perth Archbishop Timothy Costelloe SDB pours incense onto the fire during the Dedication Mass of the new Baldivis St Teresa of Calcutta Church. Photo: Jamie O’Brien.
By Amanda Murthy
“You are Peter, and on this rock, I will build my Church.”
The dedication of the Mother Teresa of Calcutta Church held in conjunction with the Feast of Ascension on Sunday, 16 May, marked the expansion of the Archdiocese of Perth, and yet another reason to celebrate ‘faith is very much alive’ in the Catholic church.
The solemn celebration began with a Mass celebrated by Perth Archbishop Timothy Costelloe SDB, and concelebrated by Auxiliary Bishop Don Sproxton, Vicar General the Very Rev Father Peter Whitely VG, Baldivis Parish Priest Fr Geoff Aldous, Archdiocesan priests including Master of Ceremonies Fr Peter Bianchini, and was assisted by Deacon Patrick Moore.
Other special guests included The Missionaries of Charity Sisters and the Mother Teresa Catholic College Principal Geri O’Keefe, students and staff.
Addressing more than 350 people who were present for the momentous occasion, Archbishop Costelloe in his homily, reflecting on the readings of the day, spoke about the importance of community, true discipleship, and vocation.
The Missionaries of Charity Sisters were among those present at the dedication of the new Baldivis St Teresa of Calcutta Church on 16 May. Photo: Jamie O’Brien.
“(Just as Saint Paul reminds us in one of his letters) I would like to say the same words to everyone present: You are God’s building - Never forget that you are God’s Temple and that God’s Spirit lives among you,” Archbishop Costelloe said.
“As you leave the Church this afternoon, I hope you will carry this thought with you, and allow it to enter deeply into your hearts. This is who you are. This is what God has called you for. This is your vocation and it can be for you a source of deep peace.”
“In the same way, the Lord gives us the gift of the ordained ministry, the gift of our priests and deacons, who under the leadership of the local bishop, guide the community so that in every way the community can be an expression of God’s presence among His people,” Archbishop Costelloe added.
Commending Fr Geoff for his leadership that went beyond being the ‘leader of a building project,’ Archbishop Costelloe said parish priests’ mission was to also be a leader of a parish which seeks to be a community of faith and of true discipleship.
“….All the sacraments which will be celebrated here, all the silent prayers which will be offered here, all the tears which will be shed here, all the joy which will be shared here, will only have meaning if we understand who we are as the people of God, who we are as the community of the disciples of Jesus, and what it is that God is asking of us,” Archbishop Costelloe said.
“My prayer for you all is that, in whatever you do, have Jesus deliberately, consciously and clearly at the heart of it all. As a community of faith, you are dedicated to a woman whose whole life was centred on Christ. May you all, like Mother Teresa, really be the face of the merciful Lord Jesus to each other, to your local area, to our city, and to the world in which we live,” he concluded.
The parish was formally erected on the feast of the Immaculate Conception on 8 December 2010, and around 130 parishioners gathered on Christmas Eve at Settlers Primary School, for their first Mass.
Baldivis Parish Building Committee Chairman Bryan Evans said it was imperative that architects Parry and Rosenthal, (who had built other churches in the Archdiocese of Perth and the Mother Teresa Catholic College) design a church that in addition to detailed liturgical requirements, complimented its environment, has a simplistic aesthetic, while identifying the building as a church.
“The builder handed over the keys at Practical Completion in May 2020. The pews and altar furniture arrived from Vietnam and was assembled by a group of enthusiastic volunteer parishioners,” Mr Evans said.
Fr Geoff expressed his gratitude to all involved in the building of the church and parish community.
“My main reflection is that building a church is quite a challenging experience, but building a community is even more demanding, and a community that reaches out more aspirational again,” Fr Geoff said.
“We have been a parish for over ten years now and it is wonderful that so many people have been called with so many gifts to share in building up the Body of Christ.”
Fr Geoff added that the Parish Mission, Life in the Spirit Seminar, rosary in the home groups for the month of May, are some of the ways the parish continues to pray together and connect with one another.