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Holy relic for Ottoway

Local

A relic of St John Paul II was installed in the heritage-listed Church of St Maximilian Kolbe at Ottoway by the Administrator Delegate Father Philip Marshall on November 17.

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The relic, a hair taken from the body of the former pope and Polish saint, was given to the parish by Archbishop Mieczyslaw Mokrzycki from Lwow in Poland.

It has been encased in a gold reliquary by Fr Marek Ptak CP and placed in the church which already contains a blood relic of St John Paul II.

Built in 1985, the church is the cultural and spiritual hub of the Polish Catholic community. It was named after Auschwitz martyr St Maximilian Kolbe who took the place of another prisoner in a starvation bunker and two weeks later was executed.

Other relics in the church include a facial hair from St Maximilian’s beard, original ashes from the crematorium at Auschwitz, a piece of bone belonging to St Faustina Kowalska and a piece of marble stone from the original tomb of St Peter the Apostle.

Fr Marshall concelebrated Mass as part of the parish visitation program which also included a tour of St Joseph’s School, and discussions with various parish groups.

Once predominantly a place of worship for people of Polish and Italian heritage, the parish now has a significant Vietnamese community and there are also increasing numbers of families from India, African countries and the Philippines.

The Archdiocesan team and parish and school leaders also enjoyed a mix of Vietnamese and Polish dishes at meals prepared by parishioners for the visitation.

The team visited the parish museum and exhibition centre dedicated to St John Paul II and heard of the museum committee’s promotion plans following the church’s heritage listing last year.

Generous after-Mass hospitality included a taste of one of St John Paul II’s favourites cakes, Kremowka Papieska, which was renamed the papal cream cake after him.

The weekly Sunday lunch in the St John Paul II Parish Centre is an important time of connection for the community as well as a source of fundraising for the projects the parish supports, including two orphanages in South America.

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