Dual anniversaries unite Ballajura parish community

09 May 2024

By Jamie O'Brien

Parish Priest Fr John Jegorow, Ballajura Major Tanya Richardson and Archbishop Costelloe reminisce about the past history of the parish. Photo: Melville Perera.

Ballajura parishioners were last weekend invited to reflect and think of all the ways God has influenced their life during the past 35 years.

Celebrating the dual anniversaries of the 35th anniversary of Ballajura Parish and the 25th anniversary of the Mary MacKillop Church, Archbishop Costelloe was joined by Parish Priest, Fr John Jegorow, Banksia Grove Parish Priest, Fr Vinh Dong and retired priest Fr Greg Donovan.

Speaking during the Mass, Saturday 27 April, Archbishop Costelloe invited the congregation to think of all the ways in which God has been able to touch so many lives, because this parish exists in this part of the Archdiocese of Perth.

Archbishop Costelloe speaks during his homily for the anniversary Mass at Ballajura Parish, Saturday 27 April. Photo: Jamie O’Brien.

“How many confessions have been heard? How many baptisms have been performed? How many weddings have taken place?” Archbishop Costelloe asked.

“Just think of all the ways in which this parish and this church have been at the heart of the life and faith of so many people,” he said.

The journey of life for the Ballajura Parish commenced in December 1988 when Archbishop Foley issued a call for “Expressions of Interest” from priests within the Archdiocese of Perth to establish a parish in the burgeoning suburb of Ballajura.

Fr John Jegorow was appointed Parish Priest in January 1989, having been involved in the youth scene for 10 years. The new parish boundaries included Ballajura, Malaga, Alexander Heights and Landsdale.

Fr John Jegorow carries the Book of the Gospels to the Lecturn before proclaiming the Gospel, Saturday 27 April. Photo: Jamie O’Brien.

A large number of people from within the new parish area gathered together at the Park Oval Ballajura, on Palm Sunday 19 March 1989 to celebrate the first “open air” Mass when Fr John rode on the now famous donkey called Rodney and a report was published in The Sunday Times.

Till January 1990, when the first stage of the Catholic Primary School was completed, Mass was celebrated in the Ballajura Primary Government School Library in Illawarra Crescent.

The first Parish House was at 10 Peale View, Ballajura and was named “Charis House” costing a bit more than $140,000.

Continuing his homily, Archbishop Costelloe made reference to the words of Pope Francis, who likened the Church to a field hospital.

Archbishop Costelloe receives the gifts of the bread and wine during the anniversary Mass. Photo: Jamie O’Brien.

“For thirty-five years, how many people have found their wounds healed by coming to this place,” Archbishop Costelloe proposed to the people.

“For thirty-five years, how many people have found their hearts warmed by coming to this place?

“Every time someone comes to this parish and finds healing and warmth and hospitality and welcome, the parish is being true to its vocation,” he said.

A dinner for more than 200 people was also held which included a moment of reminiscing from Fr John and members of the community.

Musicians and cantors of Ballajura Parish came together for the 6pm anniversary Mass, Saturday 27 April. Photo: Jamie O’Brien

New Grotto blessed and unveiled

Fr John Jegorow blesses the new Grotto, Friday 19 April. Photo: Melville Perera.

In a special ceremony held Friday 19 April, Fr John also blessed and officially unveiled a new grotto of the Holy Family.

With the help of some 20 students of Mary MacKillop Primary, Ballajura Mayor Tanya Richardson joined Fr John in officially unveiling the new statue, which was made in Vietnam.

More than 200 people from the parish community gathered for the occasion, which included a ‘Mucky Duck’ Bush Dance.

Speaking about the anniversaries, Fr John said it has been an honour and a blessing to be the parish priest.

Fr John adjusts parts of the Grotto, just prior to the blessing and unveiling on 19 April. Photo: Melville Perera.

“On the one hand I am eternally grateful for the generosity of the people and the community, on the other hand I hope I have done enough.

“I thank God for all that has been.

“The Parish of Ballajura has always tried to be a sign to the wider community, being generous where we can, through programs like St Vincent de Paul Society and the school.

“We have always aimed to be part of the real world, appealing to all people of good will,” he concluded.

Fr John Jegorow presents certificates to couples celebrating Marriage Anniversaries. Photo: Jamie O’Brien.