Granville’s Long and Shared History
Originally printed in the Granville Catholic Church Record on 15 March, 2020 and 26 July, 2020 and 12 September, 2020 (with minor amendments)
A Long and Shared History
Holy Family Parish and Holy Trinity Parish have a shared history with both being one parish for sixty years. As time moved on and as the circumstances changed they were formed into two parishes and then as times changed again the two parishes were twinned and drawn together again in 2014. Over these past six years we have recognised our common heritage and our common sense of purpose and our community has been broadened and enlivened. Like two rivers that join together to form one mighty river so our parish is like two streams of grace that have been brought together to continue the Church’s mission and to make known the salvation of Our Lord.
The Church Today
The Church today faces many challenges. Many parishes around the world and around Australia are uniting to work together. With a drastic decline in the number of Priests there are less and less available to serve us and to minister the grace of the Mass and the Sacraments. In some instances, such as Auckland, twelve parishes are to be merged into one parish, and even closer to home there are parishes which serve up to six churches. In the Granville Catholic Community we are fortunate in that we have two churches and a history of collaboration and sharing.
Since the twinning of the two parishes we have worked together to build up our community. We have worked to strengthen the bonds that we share and so form one community. The work we have done, from administration to liturgical events to social media have been recognised by other dioceses and by other parishes, and much of what we have done has been adopted by them or given as an example for others to follow. And there have been opportunities for us which, without our two churches, we would never have been able to undertake.
The Good Friday “Crosswalk” is a great example of this. For five years now, each Good Friday, we have walked the way of Our Lord as one community as we journeyed from Holy Trinity Church to Holy Family Church, stopping to pray the Stations of the Cross at the homes of parishioners along the way. On the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary we have carried Our Lady by candlelight through our neighbourhood. Last year we had our first parish pilgrimage retreat where we walked from Holy Family Church to Holy Trinity Church, praying the Stations of the Cross and stopping at each of our parish schools to pray the Holy Rosary. From our shared parish fairs to our “Parish Outdoor Movie Night”, from “Carols on the Lawn” to “Carols by Candlelight” to our “Holy Family Carols”, from Divine Mercy Sunday to Red Wednesday, from “Party at the Parish” to “Picnic at the Parish,” from our youth group to our friendship group, from morning teas to pancake suppers, we have come together to celebrate both by the worship of God and by fellowship with parishioners.
The joining of our parishes has given us a wider community where parishioners not only attend Mass and devotions across both churches, but with our annual “Volunteer Drive,” now volunteer across the parish in a way that we were not able to do before. Individuals and families who never knew one another, separated by parish boundaries, have formed friendships which offer support in times of sadness and in times of joy, and just in day to day life.
Now we have brought that good work to its fulfillment as a union of one parish under one name.
What Will This Mean?
There is no real change at all.
Instead of being joined under the name Granville Catholic Community we have been given the name of Holy Cross Parish. Nothing changes at all in regards to what we see day to day.
Both our churches, Holy Family Church and Holy Trinity Church will stay the same with both keeping their names and both remaining and operating just as they do now.
Our parish pastoral council is already joined, our catechists work together to form one united group, and we have one parish bulletin, and one Facebook page. So most of it will be about the internal administration. It will mean that instead of operating as two organisations for the sake of civil and canonical law we will have one administration. And it will mean that we can now better share our resources and so continue to build on what we have already achieved but in a far more effective, efficient and productive way because we will no longer need to duplicate our work. It will mean we can draw on our resources to better care for our churches and our parish buildings. It will mean we can better co-ordinate and strengthen our fundraising initiatives both for our parish and for those in need.
It will mean that we can move forward with confidence and strength, entrusting ourselves to divine providence, and knowing that the grace of the Holy Trinity and the blessing and intercession of the Holy Family will be with us under the protection of the Holy Cross.
The Holy Cross
The Bishop of Parramatta, in bestowing upon us the name and the patron of the Holy Cross, draws together the tapestry of those who have gone before and those who serve these parishes today. The symbol of the Holy Cross honours the titles of the two churches by recognising Jesus Christ, a member of the Holy Family and the second person of the Holy Trinity. The title also embraces the three schools and the religious orders which founded those schools; the Sisters of St. Joseph whose founder, Mary MacKillop, took the name of Mary of the Cross, and the Patrician Brothers, whose first school in Sydney was named in honour of the Holy Cross. It also recognises the work of the Missionary Sisters of Mary, Queen of the World, who were formed originally as the Congregation of the Lovers of the Holy Cross. The title itself is unique in the diocese as no parish currently bears this name. Moreover, the shape of the Cross itself, the two parts which make up the one Cross, is a sign of the union of two communities to form a union dedicated to the service of God, to the Church and the wider community.
With the changing circumstances of the Church and of our world we need to look at the bigger picture of our place in the universal Church and how we share our Catholic faith with others across our diocese. The hope we have is that we will contribute to ensuring that the Catholic faith in our geographical area of Granville will be strengthened and revitalised, to the benefit of both our community now and for the generations to come. In a world and in a time where Christianity is looked down on, we have a unique opportunity to show that we are proud of our Christian heritage, and more importantly that we are working together for a common outcome. We pray that all of us together will work with a sense of faith, hope, and love under the guidance of the Most Holy Family and the Most Blessed Trinity under the protection of the Holy Cross. We pray that they will bless our efforts and grant us the grace to sustain us now and into the future.
O God, you have made us
the Church of your dear Son.
Make our community a family
of one heart and mind
in love towards you.
Keep our service of others
faithful to the example
and command of Christ.
May we cultivate the many gifts
you create in us to share
your abundant life and divine love
with all those present in our lives.
Nourish and unite us
through the Holy Sacrament.
Fill us with hope and joy
and a renewed sense of love
and devotion to you.
We pray through the intercession
of the Most Holy Family
and Blessed Trinity
that they will guide and protect
our community always.
Through Christ our Lord.