Information Bulletin 82

January 2007

This Information Bulletin is also available to download as a PDF: 200701.pdf

{slide=Introduction} Dear Brothers in Ministry,
The 2001 Census threw up some interesting information about the size of parishes throughout Australia. Parishes at the time with more than 10,000 Catholics are listed on the back of this Bulletin. As you browse through the list you will be aware that there have been some changes in quite a few parishes since then.
Five years on, the neat ranking from 1 to 47 is probably not accurate (2008 will bring more accurate data), except to say that none of these parishes is smaller! Many parishes have been clustered together. As a result, the ratio of priest to people has changed dramatically for some. And the dynamics involved in running such parishes has also changed.
Consider for a moment Christmas in our largest parish. It's on the Gold Coast. How did the PP and Assistant of ‘mega-parish' Burleigh Heads with its 25,630+ Catholics manage to provide the Masses and Reconciliation necessary for its local crowd, its ‘returning Catholics' and its visitors, as well as answer doors and phones, and be liturgically and psychologically prepared for the onslaught? We all talk happily about the tremendous influx of people at Christmas Masses in all parishes around the country, but spare a thought for the parishes listed in this Bulletin and their priests.
Inside, we hear from a few of these men. They tell us what Christmas meant to them as they celebrated for the many thousands and more who turned up.
With every blessing for 2007.

Fr Frank Devoy, Director
Fr Frank Devoy has been appointed by the Australian Bishops as Director of the Office for Clergy Life and Ministry for a further three years from January 2007.

{/slide} {slide=The Christmas Mega Experience - Burleigh Heads}

THE CHRISTMAS 'MEGA' EXPERIENCE

From Burleigh Heads with its 25,630+ Catholics
Christmas on the Gold Coast - it's all about Mass - many of them, many venues, masses of faces, "What time is Mass?"
Only Christmas can hold together all the extremes:
  • the exhilaration and the exhaustion
  • the brightness of day, the dead of night
  • the giving - the receiving
  • the noise of the crowds - the peculiarly priestly experience of aloneness when they depart
  • the rush of adrenalin - the overwhelming fatigue
  • good wishes galore - yet running on empty
  • the phones which run hot and then fall silent
  • an infant who is Saviour
A Monday Christmas left me a fraction off the pace in that annual chase to put a name to a face. Increasingly at Christmas, I struggle to find something to say, but the rhythm of the readings I enjoy more each time. In just over twelve hours, we go from the heavy handedness of bureaucratic decrees through the ordinariness of the shift workers in the fields, to the fourth Gospel's disturbing annunciation - even though ‘the Word was made flesh and lived among us', this gift was unacceptable to his own.
At Christmas, I feel so at home at the many tables of the Eucharist at which I stand, yet the gathering pace of priestly life leaves me feeling less at home around the family table when eventually I get there.
Christmas at the beach is always great. The feast of Stephen though comes as a relief.
Pat Molony PP, Infant Saviour, Burleigh Heads Qld
{/slide} {slide=The Christmas Mega Experience - Narre Warren}

THE CHRISTMAS 'MEGA' EXPERIENCE

From Narre Warren with its 16,013+ Catholics
Christmas at Narre Warren this year was a little different with rain starting right in the middle of the family Mass on Christmas Eve. A good decision to celebrate in the church! And then with the hail storm on Christmas morning, the church grounds were covered in white - a great photo opportunity.
But it was still busy, great numbers of people (literally thousands), a real buzz in the church on Christmas Eve, the delight of children and the colourful national dress of the Sudanese, Indian, Nigerian, Sri Lankan and Laotian parishioners. Christmas always brings with it a great sense of celebration and occasion.
This is my 12th Christmas at Narre Warren and I really do enjoy catching up with people, especially those who were young when I first arrived in the Parish and are now young adults, some married, but all coming home to celebrate this marvellous feast, some from other parts of Australia or Melbourne. Most from around the corner and they are here in their church and it is good to have them home.
John Allen PP, Our Lady Help of Christians Parish, Narre Warren, Vic
{/slide} {slide=The Christmas Mega Experience - South Tuggeranong}

THE CHRISTMAS 'MEGA' EXPERIENCE

From Sth Tuggeranong with its 17,000+ Catholics

A hot summer's night ushered in the Christmas season.
After a year and half of bringing two large parishes together it was possible to see the fruits of many people's labour.
The Youth Mass brought together the talents and imagination of young people who had prepared for two months for the liturgy.
The Children's Mass brought forth images of the feeding of the five thousand as they sat out on the grass behind the Sacred Heart Church.
The Midnight Mass was a fitting prelude to Christmas morning. All in all, amidst the throng of people who attended the Masses and the loving tension of the night it was possible to sense the Peace of Christ that disturbs us.
John Armstrong PP, Corpus Christi Parish, South Tuggeranong ACT

{/slide} {slide=The Christmas Mega Experience - Salisbury}

THE CHRISTMAS 'MEGA' EXPERIENCE

From Salisbury with its 17,189 Catholics
Salisbury is the biggest and best parish in the Archdiocese of Adelaide. It is alive and growing. New subdivisions drive out the market-gardens as the parish sprawls from the hills to the coast. Wave after wave of migration has made us wonderfully diverse.
Christmas comes. Over the years, we have noted that people are voting with their feet for vigil Masses: now we have continuous vigil Masses through to midnight, and we have reduced our morning offerings. Masses are now mostly in our large parish church, bringing big celebrations with strong ministry support, rather than stretching our ministers (especially music) over many smaller celebrations. For some, standing around the walls, this is a joy. For others, especially those with a deep commitment to a small outstation, this is disappointing.
We continue to offer Christmas Mass in Italian, Polish, and Vietnamese, as well as English. Buon Natale! ??????!
Roderick O'Brien PP, St Augustine's Parish, Salisbury SA
{/slide} {slide=Parishes in excess of 10,000 Catholics}

PARISHES IN EXCESS OF 10,000 CATHOLICS BY CENSUS 2001

Catholic Population | Parish - Diocese
  1. 25630 Burleigh Heads - Brisbane
  2. 18036 Surfers Paradise - Brisbane
  3. 17189 Salisbury - Adelaid
  4. (17000 Sth Tuggeranong - Canberra-Goulburn: newly clustered)
  5. 16934 Maroochydore - Brisbane
  6. 16037 Southport - Brisbane
  7. 16021 Browns Plains - Brisbane
  8. 16013 Narre Warren - Sale
  9. 15967 Penrith - Parramatta
  10. 15469 Camden - Wollongong
  11. 15287 Caboolture - Brisbane
  12. 14920 Bonnyrigg - Sydney
  13. 14630 Mill Park - Melbourne
  14. 14430 Mt Pritchard - Sydney
  15. 14419 Caloundra - Brisbane
  16. 14333 Croydon - Melbourne
  17. 14206 Nowra - Wollongong
  18. 13340 Castle Hill - Parramatta
  19. 13327 Smithfield - Sydney
  20. 12925 Orange - Bathurst
  21. 12450 Toukley - Broken Bay
  22. 12315 Plumpton - Parramatta
  23. 12274 Shellharbour City - Wollongong
  24. 12247 Wyong - Broken Bay
  25. 12241 Redcliffe - Brisbane
  26. 12126 Calwell - Canberra/Goulburn
  27. 11958 Grovely - Brisbane
  28. 11954 Liverpool - Sydney
  29. 11794 St Clair - Parramatta
  30. 11409 Tea Tree Gully - Adelaide
  31. 11353 Queanbeyan - Canberra/Goulburn
  32. 11202 Port Macquarie - Lismore
  33. 11167 Menai - Sydney
  34. 11124 St Marys - Parramatta
  35. 11097 Sunnybank - Brisbane
  36. 10824 Bossley Park - Sydney
  37. 10822 Sunbury - Melbourne
  38. 10727 Keilor Downs - Melbourne
  39. 10431 The Entrance - Broken Bay
  40. 10421 Dubbo St Brigids - Bathurst
  41. 10418 Coffs Harbour - Lismore
  42. 10405 Ocean Reef - Perth
  43. 10382 Woy Woy - Broken Bay
  44. 10377 Launceston - Hobart
  45. 10055 Morphett Vale - Adelaide
  46. 10036 Lane Cove - Sydney
  47. 10035 Blacktown South - Parramatta
  48. 10015 Gladstone - Rockhampton

NB. Many parishes have changed shape over the past five years, having more than 10,000 Catholics. The following have been suggested -- there are more). In NSW: Bathurst Cathedral; Chatswood, Warnervale; South Tuggeranong, Gungahlin; Tweed Heads; East Lake Macquarie; Quakers Hill-Schofields, Glenwood-Stanhope Gardens, Greystanes; Fairfield; Ingleburn Rosemeadow, Campbelltown. QLD: Tugun, Jubilee parish (Bris), Cathedral (Bris). SA: Glenelg, Elizabeth, Brighton-Hallett Cove.
{/slide}
  • Created: 01 January 2007
  • Modified: 29 April 2009