Wednesday, November 16, 2011



By Fiona Basile

Ferntree-GullyPresent and former parishioners gathered at St John the Baptist Church in Ferntree Gully yesterday to celebrate the parish’s 100-year anniversary. The special Centenary Mass was celebrated by Archbishop Denis Hart.

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St John the Baptist Primary School also joined the festivities as it celebrated it 75th Anniversary this year.

The parish hosted six Jubilee celebrations throughout the year to mark the special year. Parish priest of six years, Fr Alan Fox said the series of events allowed past and present parishioners and the school community to both reminisce and celebrate the past and present.

“Throughout the history of the parish, so many people have been involved in its formation and ongoing success,” said Fr Alan.

Ferntree-Gull“A lot of the foundation families who were originally here at Ferntree Gully went on to establish other parishes in the Knox Deanery.

“The activities we’ve held throughout the year aim to celebrate the collective efforts and achievements of former and current parishioners, priests, Religious, teaching staff and lay people.”

Ferntree-GullyIn February there was a Deanery Youth Mass followed by activities and supper, in May there was a multi-cultural food fair following the morning Sunday Mass, while in July there was a Pioneers’ Mass, followed by a Luncheon with a display of parish artefacts and memorabilia.. The artefacts and memorabilia, including many historical photographs remain on display in the parish hall.

In August, all of the parishes within the Knox Deanery gathered for a Thanksgiving Mass and on 10 September, there was a parish dinner which included a digital display of photos and speakers. In October the parish hosted a Family Day Mass and picnic in the grounds of the church.

Fr Alan said: “We wanted to celebrate the key role of the families in the development of the parish.”

In November, the parish held a memorial mass to honour all of the priests, Religious, teachers, lay staff and parishioners who are deceased, and finally the Centenary Mass and celebrations yesterday.

As well as the events, the parish produced a special book to mark the centenary, called ‘Witness to the Light’ which is a collection of parishioners’ writing and photographs. The book is on sale from the parish.

Photographs by Fiona Basile.

Photos above: St John the Baptist Catholic Church in Ferntree Gully (rebuilt in 1982); Fr Alan Fox (middle) with parish staff Lorenza and Rachael; Archbishop Denis Hart with parishioners at a morning tea hosted by members of St John's Friendship Gathering; Archbishop Denis Hart with students from St John the Baptist Primary School; St John the Baptist Primary School choir.

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