New Church for Attadale Parish

Last weekend, many of our College community attended the opening of the new Church of St Joseph Pignatelli, in Attadale. We chatted to Father Sean about the new church.

When was the first Church of St Joesph Pignatelli built?
The first church was built in 1962 as a temporary church. The plan was to build a more suitable structure at the corner of Swan Road and Money Road and use the temporary church as a parish hall

How long have you been leading the St Joesph Pignatelli Parish?
In July, I will have been at SJP for 12 years.

What was your role in building the new church?
The initiative was that of a parishioner, Doug King. He gave money to the parish and also remembered us in his will. The proviso was that the money could only be used for a new church. I took this to the parish council, the parish finance committee and then the whole parish. The members of the committees and those who attended the general meeting voted to proceed and so it was my role to manage the process from that point on. I appointed a building committee, formed a fundraising committee and worked with parishioners to bring the project to fruition. I was responsible to the Archbishop and to the parish for the project.

Why did you decide to build the new church?
The old church did need significant work to be done on it. It seemed a better use of resources to build something that would last.

What are you most excited about with the new church?
I think it is a beautiful building and a real presence in our community. The parish is called to witness to Christ and our new church is a sign of our commitment to our task. The Archbishop, at the dedication Mass said that, ‘As we continue our journey we might see this church building as being, in a sense, a little like the hostels in which pilgrims of old used to stay overnight, and still do today, in order to refresh themselves for the next day’s journey.’

Why are local parishes important for local communities?
The parish is the presence of the church in the local community. We exist not for our own sake, but to bear witness to the Gospel and to call people to faith. Our doors are open, and we invite people through Word and Sacrament to open themselves to Christ. I was in Rome when Pope Benedict XVI was elected, and I remember his homily at the Inauguration Mass: ‘Do not be afraid of Christ! He takes nothing away, and he gives you everything. When we give ourselves to him, we receive a hundredfold in return. Yes, open, open wide the doors to Christ – and you will find true life.’ We bear witness to this.

How long have you been involved with Santa Maria College?
I have been involved with Santa since I was appointed to the parish. Santa is within the parish bounds and I knew that it was an important part of the work of the church.

What do you enjoy most about saying Mass at the College?
I really enjoy the contact with the students. It is fleeting, but wherever I go I encounter Santa Old Girls who come up and say hello.Slideshow images courtesy of The Record

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