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Maida Vale Parish marks annual patron saint tradition as ‘instrument of peace’


Emeritus Archbishop Barry Hickey celebrated the St Francis of Assisi feast day Mass. Photo: Supplied.

By Theresia Titus

The Maida Vale Parish community celebrated the patronal feast day of Saint Francis of Assisi on 4 October in a dedicated Sunday morning Mass.

Emeritus Archbishop Barry Hickey presided the Mass, joined by concelebrants Parish Priest Father Joseph Rathnaraj, Monsignor Timothy Corcoran, and Fr John David, with the assistance of Permanent Deacon Trevor Lyra.


Maida Vale Parish Priest Fr Joseph Rathnaraj marked his 75th birthday at St Francis of Assis Church on 19 September 2020. Photo: Supplied.

Emeritus Archbishop Hickey focussed his homily on St Francis, whose sainthood journey started during his pilgrimage to Rome where he encountered a vision of Jesus in the deserted country chapel in San Damiano and was told by Christ to rebuild the Catholic Church.

His Grace also emphasised that St Francis, whose canonisation by Pope Gregory IX happened on 16 July 1228, was a good example for people to follow.


Emeritus Archbishop Hickey cuts the St Francis of Assisi feast day cakes with children of the parish. Photo: Supplied.

Speaking to The eRecord, Parish Catechist Coordinator Philomena Theseira said the feast day celebration was of great importance to the parish community.

“At all our weekday Masses we say the prayer of St Francis of Assisi to remind us to be like him, to be an instrument of peace, to be generous and loving and all the other examples in his prayer,” Mrs Theseira said.

“We had a four-day spiritual preparation for the feast day with visiting priests leading us in Mass and prayers.”


Maida Vale Parish celebrated the patronal feast day of Saint Francis of Assisi on Sunday, 4 October. Photo: Supplied.

Following the 4 October Mass, more than 200 parishioners participated in festivities involving a sausage sizzle, cutting of the feast day cakes by Emeritus Archbishop Hickey, and “singing performances” by the parishioners including the youth community.

“Fr Joseph was very pleased with the way it was organised and thanked those involved, [including] a committee of 10 people [who] organised the event,” Mrs Theseira expressed.

“Fr Joseph was also very pleased with the support of other priests, including Fr Antony Suresh from Kalamunda Parish.”