PROFILE

Created by Pope John Paul II on 8 April 1986

The Catholic Diocese of Parramatta was created by Pope John Paul II on 8 April 1986 but most parishes are much older – Parramatta parish was established in 1827, Windsor in 1832 and Penrith in 1839, while Rouse Hill was formed in 2007.

The first Bishop of Parramatta, Bishop Bede Heather,

was installed on 19 May 1986. He was succeeded by Bishop Kevin Manning (1996-2010). Bishop Anthony Fisher OP was the Third Bishop of Parramatta (2010-2014) before being appointed as Archbishop of Sydney. Bishop Vincent Long OFM Conv was appointed Bishop of Parramatta in 2016.

A Suffragan Diocese of the Catholic Archdiocese of Sydney

the Diocese of Parramatta is west of Sydney and covers 4,289 sq km, reaching from Dundas Valley, west to Megalong Valley, south to Luddenham, and north to Wiseman's Ferry.

Parramatta was chosen as the seat of the Diocese

due to its role in the early European settlement of Australia, its size as a commercial and administrative centre, and its pivotal position in the communications that link the west with other parts of Sydney. It is contemporary urban Australia in miniature. It has parishes as old as Parramatta and Windsor and burgeoning suburbs such as Stanhope Gardens and Rouse Hill.

The Diocese takes in seven local government divisions:

The Hills Shire, Blacktown City, Blue Mountains City Council, Hawkesbury Shire, Cumberland Council, City of Parramatta and Penrith City Council, as well as parts of Wollondilly and Liverpool.

The Diocese nurtures the spiritual lives

of the hundreds of thousands of Catholics in its care, and supports thousands more in the local community. Its Catholic education system is committed to giving every student a quality education, while CatholicCare and its other agencies and ministries work alongside local people and organisations committed to enhancing the way of life we enjoy in Western Sydney.

AT A GLANCE


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CATHOLICS
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PARISHES
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PEOPLE PER PARISH

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CATHOLIC SCHOOLS

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STUDENTS

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FAMILIES

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SERVICES & AGENCIES

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DEANERIES

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ACTIVE & RETIRED PRIESTS


Diocesan Coat of Arms


There are two basic elements in our Arms: a metaphor of the geography of the diocese, and the signs of the unifying force of Christ. The colours used by Parramatta generally are Blue and Gold and are the basis of our shield.

Arms (or ‘Coats of Arms’) are a way of identifying people or places, and Sees of the Roman Catholic Church have displayed Arms since time immemorial and they serve a useful purpose: buildings constructed by the Diocese may have the Arms inscribed on their fabric, usually on the exterior above a door, and documents and certificates produced by the Diocese too may have the See Arms inscribed.

Bishops, Archbishops, and Abbots may all display Arms, as of course does the Pope.

The Arms that a Bishop displays are combined with the Arms of the See he rules (the term is ‘impaled’) and this Coat of Arms is seen on documents that the Bishop signs.

The Arms of the Diocese of Parramatta reflect colours and images that are identified with Parramatta and the wide area of the See.

There are two basic elements in our Arms: a metaphor of the geography of the diocese, and the signs of the unifying force of Christ. The colours used by Parramatta generally are Blue and Gold and are the basis of our shield.

The blue of the shield runs from the City to the Blue Mountains, as shown by two points at the top of the top of the shield.

The shield is cut in half by the river – this represents the Nepean Hawkesbury River. Over the shield is the monogram representing Christ the King – the letters X and P are, in Greek, the first two letters of the name ‘Christ’ – and this monogram is crowned, showing the kingship of Christ in our lives: in Heraldry, this shows the Parramatta diocese is protected by Christ.

Next to the shield is a processional cross, and above it is a mitre: these insignia show that this is a Roman Catholic Diocese.

You may be aware that Heraldry uses a unique language to describe Coats of Arms: for example ‘or’ means the colour gold, ‘argent’ the colour silver, and ‘azure’ the colour blue.

Here is how our Arms are described: “Azure, indented of two throughout in chief, the chief argent, overall in fess a fess wavy argent charged with a barrulet wavy azure, overall in pale the monogram XP crowned or.”

HISTORY OF THE DIOCESE


The Diocese of Parramatta takes in seven local government divisions: Baulkham Hills Shire, Blacktown City, the City of the Blue Mountains, Hawkesbury Shire, the Municipality of Holroyd, Parramatta City and Penrith City and parts of Wollondilly and Liverpool. This area encompasses the lands of the Darug people.

Although the Diocese was established in 1986, there was already a vibrant Catholic life in the area stretching back to the beginning of European settlement.


  • 1803

    It was at Old Government House in Parramatta Park that the 1803 Proclamation requiring all Catholics to register for the first official Masses in the colony was read. Rev James Dixon celebrated the second and third official Masses in Australia in Parramatta and the Hawkesbury respectively in May 1803.

  • 1820 - 1830

    Rev Therry and Rev Power ministered in the region in the 1820s. An inquest recorded the latter’s death in 1830 as a “visitation of God”.

  • 1830 - 1860

    The first religious profession in Australia took place in St Patrick’s Parramatta, in 1835 when Sr Xavier took her first vows in the Sisters of Charity. Now members of more than 50 religious Congregations live and work in the Diocese.

    Windsor and Penrith had Catholic communities in the 1830s, Blackheath was attended from Hartley in 1842, and the foundation stone for Richmond was laid in 1859. Cardinal Clancy comes from Richmond parish.

  • 1986

    On 19 May 1986, the new Diocese of Parramatta was created with Bishop Bede Heather as the first bishop.

    In the years following WWII, many people arrived in the Diocese from war-torn Europe and, since then, many others have come from places of conflict, persecution and economic hardship. Their strong Catholic faith and family values have enriched the Diocese and made it a truly multicultural faith community.

  • 1997

    Bishop Bede Heather was succeeded in 1997 by Bishop Kevin Manning who had previously been Bishop of Armidale.

  • 2010

    In 2010, Most Rev Anthony Fisher OP DD was installed as the third Bishop of Parramatta.

  • 2014

    In 2014, Most Rev Anthony Fisher OP DD was made Archbishop of Sydney. The Diocese of Parramatta was Administered by Very Rev Peter G Williams from 2014-2016.

  • 2016

    In 2016, Most Rev Vincent Long OFM Conv DD was installed as the fourth Bishop of Parramatta.


Former Bishops

Most Rev Anthony Fisher OP


Most Rev Anthony Fisher OP
DD BA LlB BTheol DPhil
Third Bishop of Parramatta (2010-2014)

Born in Sydney in 1960 to Colin and Gloria Fisher, he was baptised Anthony Colin Joseph at St Thérèse Church, Lakemba, and attended the parish school in 1965 and 1966.

Thereafter, he attended St Michael’s School Lane Cove, Holy Cross College Ryde, and St Ignatius’ College Riverview.

At the University of Sydney he received degrees in History and Law before practising law in a city firm.



Most Rev Kevin Michael Manning DD


Most Rev Kevin Michael Manning DD
Bishop Emeritus of Parramatta

Bishop Kevin Manning was appointed the second Bishop of Parramatta on 10 July 1997 and installed on 21 August 1997.

On 8 January 2010, he was appointed Apostolic Administrator until his retirement on 4 March 2010. He was succeeded by Most Rev Anthony Fisher OP, the third Bishop of Parramatta.

In retirement, Bishop Manning has the title “Emeritus Bishop of Parramatta”.

Bishop Manning was born in Coolah, NSW, in 1933. He is the second eldest in a family of five boys and two girls, born to Kevin and Edith Manning. He attended Sacred Heart Primary School in Coolah before going on to St Columba’s College, Springwood, where he later began his studies for the priesthood. He was selected to complete his studies at Propaganda Fide College in Rome, where he was ordained on 21 December 1961.

2012-current: Bishop Emeritus of Parramatta
2010-2012: Apostolic Administrator for Wilcannia-Forbes
1997-2010: Bishop of Parramatta
1991-97: Bishop of Armidale
1983-91: Secretary to the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference
1978-83: Assistant Secretary to the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference
1962-78: Priest of the Diocese of Bathurst
1961: Ordained to the Priesthood in Rome on 21 December 1961


Most Rev Bede Vincent Heather DD LSS BA


Most Rev Bede Vincent Heather DD LSS BA
Bishop Emeritus of Parramatta

Bishop Bede Heather was born in Sydney on December 7 1928, the third child of William and Alice Heather.

Bishop Heather was educated at St Patrick’s College, Strathfield, and at St Columba’s College, Springwood. He did his studies for the priesthood at Springwood, Manly and at Propaganda College in Rome, where he was ordained at Castel Gandolfo in 1951.
After completing postgraduate studies in Sacred Scriptures he returned to Sydney where he was Assistant Priest in the parishes of Brighton-le-Sands and Willoughby.

He taught biblical languages and literature at St Columba’s Seminary, Springwood, and at St Patrick’s Seminary, Manly, for a number of years.

Between 1973 and 1976 he gained experience in Africa where he taught in the Bigard Memorial Seminary, Nigeria.
Upon his return, he had short stays as Administrator at The Entrance and St Ives before taking up an appointment as leader of a pastoral team at Mt Druitt in 1977.

In 1979 he was ordained as Titular Bishop of Obbi and became an auxiliary bishop with responsibility for western Sydney. Bishop Heather was co-chairman of the Catholic/Baptist International Dialogue.

On 14 April 1986 he was nominated as the first Bishop of Parramatta and was formally installed at St Patrick’s Cathedral on 19 May 1986.

Bishop Heather served the Diocese of Parramatta until 10 July 1997 when he resigned. He now lives on the Central Coast of NSW.

From Dundas Valley in the east, west to Katoomba, south to Luddenham, and north to Richmond, the Catholic Diocese of Parramatta is made of 47 vibrant Parishes.

Dating back as early as 1832, each of these Parishes has its own unique story to tell and place in the history of the Diocese’s formation and growth.


History of parishes in the Diocese of Parramatta

History of St Patrick’s Cathedral


St Patrick’s Cathedral is the symbolic heart of the Diocese of Parramatta – a dynamic centre of worship prayer, community and mission.

Today an iconic physical landmark of the City of Parramatta skyline, the Foundation Stone for the St Patrick’s was laid more than 170 years ago, on St Patrick’s Day 1836.

When the Diocese of Parramatta was established 150 years later in 1986, St Patrick’s was designated as the Cathedral of the new Diocese.


Rev James Dixon celebrated the first Mass in Parramatta within the vicinity of the present day St Patrick’s on 22 May 1803. After the Vinegar Hill Rebellion of 1804 in Castle Hill, the privilege was withdrawn. It was not until Rev Therry’s arrival in 1820 that Mass was again celebrated.

Rev Daniel Power replaced him and began the first church in Parramatta in 1827. It was still unroofed in 1835 when Archbishop Polding OSB arrived, and when finally completed, it became a schoolhouse.

Archbishop Polding OSB laid the Foundation Stone on 17 March 1836 and the church was consecrated on 28 May 1837.
By 1854, the existing church was too small so Fr Coffey OFM Conv commissioned a larger church and the Foundation Stone was laid on 13 August 1854.

On 10 November 1878, Dean Rigney laid the Foundation Stone for the Pugin Tower to be added to the existing church. The tower was consecrated on 17 March 1880. The spire was blessed in January 1883.

A new church was built on the site in 1936 to meet the needs of a growing congregation. It incorporated the existing tower and spire. The Foundation Stone was laid on 26 May 1935 and the church opened on 31 May 1936.

In 1986, the Catholic Diocese of Parramatta was established and St Patrick’s Church was designated a Cathedral. The present Cathedral was the fourth on the site.

On 19 February 1996, it was destroyed by fire. The destruction of the Cathedral evoked extraordinary feeling in the community. The Premier, Prime Minister and Governor-General all visited the site to inspect the ruins.

The Bishop of Parramatta at the time, Most Rev Bede Heather, promised parishioners “A new St Patrick’s will rise from these ashes.” The work towards this goal continued, with an announcement by the second Bishop of Parramatta, Most Rev Kevin Manning, that St Patrick’s Cathedral would be restored to regain its place as a building of historical significance in the local landscape.

The new St Patrick’s Cathedral was dedicated on 29 November 2003.


Parish Priests & Deans

PARISH PRIESTS AND DEANS
Fr Brennan 1839-42 & 47-52
Dean Coffey OSF 1852-1857
Dean Sumner OSB 1857-1864
Dean Forde 1864-1874
Mons Rigney 1874-1889
Mons O’Reilly 1889-1919
Mons O’Gorman 1919-1931
Mons Patrick O`Donnell 1931-1953
Mons Joseph McGovern 1953-1964
Mons Frank Kerr 1964-1974
Fr Joseph Weaver March-June 1974
Fr Don Peisley 1974-1976
Dean Brian Larkey 1976-1991
Dean John Boyle 1991-2000
Dean Kevin Walsh 2000-2004
Dean Peter Williams 2004-2006
Dean Wim Hoekstra 2006-2012
Rev John McSweeney 2012-2014
Very Rev Fr Robert Bossini 2014-present
Learn more about St Patrick’s Cathedral
Experience St Patrick’s Cathedral in 3D

Diocesan Patron
St Mary of the Cross MacKillop


Our heavenly patroness… St Mary of the Cross MacKillop

St Mary of the Cross MacKillop was proclaimed the Patron of the Catholic Diocese of Parramatta during the Diocese’s Silver Jubilee Mass of Thanksgiving in St Patrick’s Cathedral on Thursday 19 May 2011.

The proclamation of St Mary of the Cross MacKillop’s patronage was read during the Mass by His Excellency Giuseppe Lazzarotto, Apostolic Nuncio to Australia.

“The faithful people of the Diocese of Parramatta remember and continue to honour St Mary of the Cross MacKillop, Virgin,” Archbishop Lazzarotto said in the proclamation.

“Most Reverend Anthony Fisher OP, Bishop of Parramatta, has approved of those people recording the wishes of the community, in consultation with priests and people, to choose St Mary of the Cross, Virgin, as heavenly Patroness of the Diocese.”

In his Silver Jubilee Mass Homily, Bishop Anthony spoke of the particular link between St Mary of the Cross MacKillop and the Diocese.
“Not only did she labour amongst us in this life, but she interceded from heaven to bring about a miracle for one of our parishioners,” Bishop Anthony said. (see video below).

 


Learn more about St Mary of the Cross MacKillop

FAITH IN OUR FUTURE

Diocesan Pastoral Plan 2014-2018


With a commitment to increased collaboration and fresh expressions of our abiding Gospel mission, our Diocese seeks to respond to Pope Francis’ call to be “bold and creative in this task of rethinking the goals, structures, styles and methods of evangelisation”.

However, it is only when people grow in the Gospel that our Church grows. Our expanding mission which needs your support, energy, gifts and time in order to succeed.

Faith in Our Future aims to support and invite every member of our Diocese to become mature and missionary disciples, Catholics who know and love their faith and go into the world to “invite others to ‘come and see’ Jesus and ‘go and tell’ His story”.

You can stay up-to-date with the latest on our Pastoral Plan for 2014 to 2018 at Faith in Our Future, the online home of Pastoral Planning for the Catholic Diocese of Parramatta.

Faith in our Future Website

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