Riverton Parish holds Platinum Jubilee as Christ’s living Church with snap lockdown looming

27 May 2021

By Matthew Lau

Archbishop Timothy Costelloe SDB and Pallottine Fathers at the altar of Our Lady Queen of Apostles Church.
Archbishop Timothy Costelloe SDB consecrates the Blessed Sacrament, flanked by several Pallottine Fathers, during Riverton Parish’s 70th anniversary at Our Lady Queen of Apostles Church on Friday, 23 April. Photo: Sourced.

The Riverton Parish community gathered last month – 70 years after its establishment and 50 years since Our Lady Queen of Apostles Church was placed – to honour the past, rejoice in the present, and dream for the future.

On 23 April, the parish community congregated in limited numbers – wearing facemasks merely hours before Perth went into a three-day lockdown – to commemorate its Platinum Jubilee, which had previously been postponed twice because of COVID-19 related disruptions.

Numerous Pallottine Fathers (Society of Catholic Apostolate) welcomed Archbishop Timothy Costelloe SDB for the Eucharistic celebration.

The Perth Archbishop was joined by Fr Dean Bradbury SAC (Regional Superior of the Pallottines in Australia), Fr Paul Manickathan SAC (Riverton Parish Priest), Fr John Flynn SAC (Former Riverton Parish Priest), Fr Ray Hevern SAC (Rector of Pallottine House, Perth), Fr Jude D’Rozario SAC (Chaplain of St John of God Subiaco Hospital), Fr Jose Joseph SAC, and Fr Mathew Sebastian as concelebrants.

Riverton Parish’s inaugural Mass was held on 25 March 1951 in the old Riverton Public Hall on High Rd. In 1951, there were only a few Catholic families in the area, so the late Fr Leo Hornung SAC (foundational Riverton Parish Priest) worked tirelessly to raise funds to build the church and school hall. The church hall was dedicated and consecrated by then-Archbishop Redmond Prendiville on 23 August 1953.

The 23 April 2021 event also marked the Silver Jubilee (25th anniversary) of Fr Manickathan – Ordained to the Priesthood on 24 April 1995 – who gladly opened the evening’s proceedings by unveiling the church’s new Risen Lord crucifix situated above the tabernacle.

In his homily, Archbishop Costelloe accentuated how the Gospel of John 6:52-59 reminded the faithful how the living Church came to us as a precious gift from God, founded on the rock of Saint Peter and established eternally because Christ “promised to be with us always”.

“The Second Vatican Council, which concluded just a few years before this church building was blessed and opened, spoke of the living Church as ‘the sacrament of Christ’,” His Grace explained.

“The Church itself, according to the teaching of Vatican 11, is a sacrament, a powerful sign of something much deeper.

“Because we are the Church, not as isolated individuals but as brothers and sisters in a community of faith, it is we together who are, or are meant to be, a sign of the ongoing presence of Jesus Christ as the one who continues to offer life, and hope, and compassion, and forgiveness.”

Riverton Parish Priest Fr Paul Manickathan SAC gives a Vote of Thanks on 23 April 2021 before being presented with a plaque for 25 years of sacerdotal ministry. Photo: Sourced.

Linking scripture to Riverton Parish’s Platinum Jubilee landmark, Archbishop Costelloe elucidated how a celebration of this ilk maintains the memory of all past and present parishioners who have “kept the presence of Jesus alive in their families, among their friends, and in our community”.

“We are celebrating each other, for together, we are continuing this vital mission for the good of the world in which we live; we pray for those who will come after us and who will continue to be this living sacrament of the presence of Jesus among His people.

“I want to invite all of us to realise and to rejoice in the fact that we are God’s building and that the Holy Spirit lives among us,” Archbishop Costelloe concluded.

Parish Priest Fr Paul Manickathan SAC expressed his gratitude at the close of Mass to the Archbishop and to all present for attending the milestone occasion with the midnight lockdown looming.

“We are so privileged and lucky to celebrate this Mass together despite what is going around us as we all know. We come together to honour the past, to celebrate the present, and to dream for the future,” Fr Manickathan voiced.

The entire service was filmed and uploaded to YouTube by Catholic Youth Apostolate.

After Mass, the congregation made its way to the parish hall for fellowship and acknowledged Tricia Wisolith for 26 years of service as Parish Secretary.