Greenwood All Saints Church celebrates 50 years of hope, faith love and unity

07 Mar 2024

By Jamie O'Brien

Greenwood 50th Anniversary
More than 350 people from Greenwood parish came together Saturday 4 November to celebrate the 50th anniversary of All Saints Church. Photo: Lucy Harris.

It was in early 1971 that Bishop Peter Quinn approached Fr Samuel of St Lawrence’s Balcatta to arrange for the celebration of Mass in the Hamersley area. The first Mass was held in the Glendale Primary School on 18 April 1971 with 64 parishioners attending.

These were the first days for the parish of Greenwood which recently celebrated the 50th anniversary of All Saints Church Greenwood.

Celebrating the occasion on Saturday 4 November was Archbishop Emeritus Barry Hickey, who was joined by Vicar General, the Very Rev Fr Peter Whitely VG, Parish Priest, Fr Elver Delicano, Banksia Grove Parish Priest Fr Vinh Dong, Ocean Reef Administrator Fr Mariusz Adamczyk SDS, Chaplain Fr Demetri Roh, North Beach Parish Priest Fr Hyginus Ebede, Servite Priest Fr Francis Chukwu OSM and Yangebup Assistant Priest Fr Nicholas Deidler.

The Very Rev Fr Peter Whitely and Fr Vinh Dong both served as parish priests at Greenwood, while Fr Nicholas Deidler grew up at the parish.

Archbishop Emeritus Barry Hickey speaks to the people of Greenwood Parish during the 50th anniversary Mass of Greenwood Parish All Saints Church, Saturday 4 November 2023. Photo: Lucy Harris.

More than 350 parishioners past and present came together for the occasion, which included a procession of several historical items for a display on the sanctuary.

Parish Priest Fr Elver Delicano said it was crucial to pay homage to those who laid the groundwork for the parish community.

“Our predecessors, the founding members of the Church, with unwavering dedication and sacrificial commitment, established this Church, sowing seeds of hope, love, faith and unity,” Fr Elver said.

“Their commitment and perseverance in the face of adversity remind us to remain steadfast in our devotion to God and His calling through the intercession of All the Saints in Heaven especially the maternal protection of our Lady, Mary Help of Christians,” he said.

Parish Priest Fr Elver Delicano speaks to the people of Greenwood Parish at the conclusion of Mass. Photo: Lucy Harris.

At the inaugural meeting of Catholics in the East Hamersley area, a steering committee was formed and the first Parish Council meeting, was held on 24 May 1972. The council was then known as the East Hamersley Parish Council.

In January 1973, Fr Barry Whitely was appointed as the first parish priest with the Parish Council soon deciding to establish the parish as a separate entity as soon as possible, as Masses had previously been held at St Theresa’s Church Gwelup.

The opening of the All Saints Mass Centre was celebrated by Bishop Peter Quinn on 15 December 1974 with some 450 parishioners attending.  The growth of the parish was reported to be very rapid, with 196 families in the parish in July 1972.  By 1976, the total population was found to be over 2,600, of which 1,500 were adults.

A parishoner carrys a wood etching of the Greenwood All Saints Church emblem, replicated from the dedication Mass booklet from when the current church was opened in the 1980s. Photo: Lucy Harris.

In 1984, the appointment of new Parish Priest Fr Pat Ahern saw the commencement of the building of the new Church which was officially opened in August 1987. The official blessing and dedication Mass was celebrated by Archbishop William Foley.

Architect Michael Broderick felt that the church must be “a fitting setting for modern liturgy and reflect the thoughts and values, that are the enduring aspects of the Second Vatican Council.”

The building was also designed to relate to the concept of “Church” for the urban Australian Catholic.

The new Church was designed to “help deepen the faith of the congregation and to provide a fitting space for the celebration of the liturgy for generations to come.” In plan form, the octagonal Church with its various wings resembles a fish – the early Christian symbol, or a bird, the symbol of the Holy Spirit.

Parishioner Helen Medina processes into the Church with the Book of Life, a parish prayer book for those who had passed away. Photo: Lucy Harris.

Fr Elver said throughout Greenwood Church’s 50th Anniversary celebrations, one undeniable truth remains – the divine grace that sustains us.

“It is God’s grace that has nurtured our faith, brought healing to the broken, and ignited a passion for service within us,” Fr Elver said.

“May this 50th Anniversary of our All Saints Parish serve as a reminder of the divine grace that has brought us this far and propel us forward into new dimensions of faith, hope, and service.

“With hearts overflowing with gratitude, let us continue to build upon the foundation laid by those who came before us, ever trusting in God’s faithfulness and guidance,” he said.

A parishioner processes into the Church with flowers as part of the opening ceremony. Photo: Lucy Harris.
Parishioner Daryl Barr processes into the Church with a photo album as part of the opening ceremony. Photo: Lucy Harris.
Parishioner Sharon Cordina processes into the Church with the cake as part of the opening ceremony. Photo: Lucy Harris.
Parishioner Helen Medina speaks during the 50th anniversary Mass. Photo: Lucy Harris.
The 50th anniversary display. Photo: Lucy Harris.