Media and Communications Office
Mooroolbark’s St Peter Julian Eymard Parish squeezed over 300 parishioners into its bursting church to celebrate the parish’s 50th anniversary Sunday 22 April.
An excitable atmosphere gripped St Peter Julian Eymard as the episcopal vicar to the Eastern Region, Monsignor Anthony Ireland, and Mooroolbark’s Parish Priest, Fr Joseph Lu Xin, concelebrated Mass.
In celebrating its golden jubilee, the occasion served as a reminder of St Peter Julian Eymard’s successful 2013 merge with neighbouring parish, St Richards in Kilsyth.
An abundant lunch awaited parishioners after Mass and the animated, multicultural flock broke bread and shared stories as a warm autumn glow shone a spotlight on one of Melbourne’s liveliest parishes.
In his homily, Msgr Ireland encouraged those in the pews to recall the contributions made by friends and family who had passed away throughout the parish’s rich history and to remain dedicated and devoted parishioners committed to strengthening their flock.
Among St Peter Julian Eymard’s teeming congregation was Deputy Premier of Victoria, James Merlino MP, and the Member for Croydon and the Victorian Liberal Party’s Deputy Leader, David Hodgett MP.
Mr Merlino, the Member for Monbulk and a frequent visitor to the regions parishes, said the occasion was a ‘great celebration’ of an ‘active and vibrant community’ and reflected on the role St Peter Julian Eymard had played in his upbringing and the lives of his family.
As Pastoral Council Chairperson, Bernadette Brown, gazed across the bustling lunch setting, she revealed that the organising committee behind the anniversary celebrations had decided that a relaxed lunch would provide an environment to encourage conversation and reflection.
‘Today was about bringing the community together,’ she said, ‘to see people engaging with each other and enjoying the occasion is brilliant. We have a wonderful community here and so many people have helped make this parish a special place.’
Fr Joseph beamed with pride as he keenly pointed to the ‘melting pot’ of diversity coursing throughout the parish, describing the ‘harmony’ at St Peter Julian Eymard as a ‘miracle’.
Parishioner, Jim Barden, who moved to the area in 1966, delightedly reflected on the parish’s early years before directing his praise to the newcomers delivering a fresh approach to parish life at St Peter Julian Eymard.
‘The parishioners have built this parish both physically and spiritually,’ he said, ‘there are a lot of new, diverse cultures and people from different cultures which is fantastic. We welcome them, they’re part of our community now and they’re carrying on the tradition of what it was like when we were young.’
St Peter Julian Eymard Parish will continue to celebrate its 50th anniversary throughout 2018.