Media and Communications Office
In the next of our series of parish profiles, we have taken our cameras to All Hallows, Balwyn, where Fr Brendan Reed heads three busy parishes, All Hallows, Our Lady of Good Counsel in Deepdene and the landmark basilica on the Burke Road hill, Our Lady of Victories.
Within his domain, Fr Reed has three parishes, three churches and a school to serve. In conversation with Media and Communications Director Shane Healy, he was quick to acknowledge ‘partnership’ as the key factor in keeping so many balls in the air at the same time.
‘There’s one administration centre,’ he said, ‘with two priests, two Pastoral Associates, a stewardship co-ordinator and an administrative assistant. It’s a staff of six looking after what are three very busy and very active parishes.’
In addition to our chat with Fr Brendan, we spoke with Kate Baines, who’s stewardship co-ordinator, heavily involved with All Hallows’ work with the asylum seeker community in Balwyn, with pastoral associate Sharon Freeman, who works in both sacramental preparation and adult catechesis, and with senior pastoral associate Trish Norman, the focus of whose work is in liturgy and worship, including the parish’s vital role in delivering Holy Communion to the sick and isolated.
Three diverse parishes, all served by a hard working parish priest and his team…for Shane Healy it was an eye-opening exercise to meet and speak with so many committed people.
In his words, ‘It’s quite an experience to helicopter into any community, meet some of the key players, form a judgement and then disappear as quickly as you arrived.’
One of the most exciting things in the life of the parish was the recent re-opening of the beautiful church on Whitehorse Road in Deepdene, Our Lady of Good Counsel. From Christmas 2015 to Christmas last year, OLGC, as she is affectionately known, was closed for a total makeover and renovation. Parish services and liturgies were moved to nearby Balwyn, confirmations were moved to St Patrick’s Cathedral, before last Christmas saw the revelation of the spectacular new interior, with a new emphasis on light, vaulted space and striking design, particularly the reredos or rood screen behind the altar, a brilliant timber design by Trentham architect Matthew Harding, who also designed the new altar and baptismal font. See above and below.