Vincentian congregation welcomes new retreat centre with great fanfare
Archbishop Timothy Costelloe with (L_R) Maddington Parish Priest Father Varghese Parackal, Vincentian Congregation Superior General, the Very Rev Fr Sebastian Thundathikunnel and Provincial Superior Rev Fr Mathew Kakkatupillil at the Mass to open and bless a new Vincentian retreat centre in Byford. Photo: Caroline Smith.
By Caroline Smith
A new Retreat Centre in Byford run by the Vincentian Congregation will be a place where many different people can spend time ‘with their eyes fixed on Jesus’, said Archbishop Timothy Costelloe SDB, at a Mass to open and bless the new buildings.
The Mass, held on Saturday 29 July, was celebrated by Archbishop Costelloe and concelebrated by Emeritus Archbishop Barry Hickey, Superior General Vincentian Congregation Very Rev Father Sebastian Thundathikunnel, Provincial Superior Rev Fr Mathew Kakkatupillil and Vincentian priests from Perth, Melbourne and Sydney.
Despite the wet weather, more than 1000 people turned out for the event, many of them members of the Maddington and Shenton Park parishes, which are run by the Vincentian Order.
Music and song added community spirit to the opening of a new retreat centre in Byford, with attendees coming from the parishes of Maddington, Shenton Park and indeed interstate for this auspicious occasion. Photo: Caroline Smith.
Also present were members of other Australian parishes linked with the Order, especially from Melbourne. Fr Thundathikunnel had also journeyed to Australia from India for the service.
In his homily for the occasion, Archbishop Costelloe referenced the multicultural nature of these parishes, saying that the Catholic faith is one of diversity and universality.
“The Catholic Church to which we all belong is a gift to us from God. It is rich in its teachings, in its traditions, in its diversity, and in its unity,” he said.
“In each new country, and in each new culture, the gospel took root and began to grow, and as it did so the Church took on the characteristics of the time and place in which it found itself. And so today we speak sometimes of Irish Catholicism, or Indian Catholicism, or Polynesian Catholicism, or American Catholicism.
“What is it that can be the source of our unity in the midst of so much difference and diversity? It can only be one thing: that, like the people in the Synagogue in Nazareth, we keep our eyes fixed on Jesus. If we lost that, we lose everything.”
Maddington Parish Priest Fr Varghese Parackal, who is a member of the Vincentian order, speaks at the end of the recent Mass to bless a new retreat centre in Byford. Photo: Caroline Smith.
He added that by following the teachings of Jesus and the words of Mother Mary, people could find a common path in their journey of faith.
“When we feel as if we may be losing our way, we know what to do – we walk the way of Jesus. If we feel confused and don’t know any longer who or what to believe, we know what to do – we commit ourselves to the truth taught to us by Jesus. If we feel as if our life is empty, or meaningless, or spiralling out of control, we know what to do – we open ourselves to the life which comes to us in and through Jesus,” Archbishop Costelloe said.
“It is Jesus, and our commitment to him as our Good Shepherd, our teacher, our saviour and our God, which is the heart of our unity as a Church – and this Retreat Centre stands here in Byford as a place where you and so many other people can come and spend time, like the people in the Synagogue in Nazareth, with your eyes fixed on him.”
Following the Mass, priests who had taken part in the service went around to the new buildings and blessed them. After this, a cake was cut to signal the opening of the new Centre.
Archbishop Timothy Costelloe celebrated Mass, which was con-celebrated by (L-R): Monsignor Brian O’Loughlin, Emeritus Archbishop Barry Hickey, Fr Varghese Parackal, Very Rev Fr Sebastian Thundathikunnel, Rev Fr Mathew Kakkatupillil and other Vincentian priests from Perth, Melbourne and Sydney, at the opening of a new retreat centre in Byford, which will be run by the Vincentian Congregation. Photo: Caroline Smith.
At the end of the service, many people associated with the centre and the Mass had an opportunity to speak, including Archbishop Costelloe, Emeritus Archbishop Hickey, Fr Thundathikunnel, Fr Kakkatupillil, Maddington Parish Priest Fr Varghese Parackal, former Maddington Parish Priest Fr Rojan George (who is now based in Melbourne), Fr Michael Payyapilly, Archdiocesan Vicar General Monsignor Brian O’Loughlin, and parishioner Michael Chew.
Attendees then gathered for a buffet lunch which was organised by volunteers from the Maddington and Shenton Park parishes.