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Nativity parish celebrates 40 years

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As the Nativity parish at Aberfoyle Park prepares to celebrate its 40th anniversary this month, parishioner VEE POLS reflects on the history of the Catholic community in the southern suburbs.

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During the 1960s and 1970s State urban planning initiatives were opening up new housing developments throughout the northern aspects of the Fleurieu Peninsula.

A number of Catholic families were already living in the area so diocesan planners decided in the first half of 1979 to form a new parish to serve the needs of increasing numbers of Catholic families who were moving into the suburbs of Flagstaff Hill, Aberfoyle Park and Chandlers Hill in the north and down through Happy Valley to Clarendon and Kangarilla in the south-eastern corner.

A Happy Valley benefactor and a significant donation by the Glenelg parish enabled the Archdiocese to purchase 2.2 hectares of land in Aberfoyle Park to provide adequate space for the future development of a church, school and presbytery that would sit adjacent to a joint Catholic, Uniting Church and Government primary school complex.

This became known as the Aberfoyle Park School Campus and to this day, 40 years later, the School of the Nativity is an important component of this very successful educational initiative.

Fr Roy Richardson was appointed as the foundation parish priest and Sr Monica Redden OP as the foundation pastoral associate. The first parish Masses were celebrated in the Flagstaff Hill kindergarten and in the Happy Valley Institute building on February 2 and 3 1980.

The parish priest lived in a rented house on a chicken farm until he could move into the newly completed parish house, located across the road from the Aberfoyle Park School Campus and the church building site. About this time the parish began to use the campus school hall as its Mass centre.

The parish community grew quickly so in 1983 the parish was able to service a loan to build the church, an amazing feat made possible by many parishioners who saw a need and responded to it. The parish continues to benefit from their generosity and in September 2016, the parish celebrated the 30th anniversary of the church.

Over 40 years the parish has been blessed with many wonderful parish priests and pastoral associates.  Their example of deep faith, prayerfulness and commitment to the people of the parish continues to inspire us to be a strong and vibrant Catholic community.  The unique gifts of each person has supported and sustained the whole parish community which continues to evolve. Currently, Fr Santiago Fernandez is the parish administrator and the pastoral associate is Bianca Cotton.

At first, there were many families with young children and it was known by the locals as ‘nappy valley’.  As time has passed, newer arrivals to Australia have settled in the area so the multicultural nature of the parish community has grown and developed. Each year the parish celebrates this precious gift with a multicultural lunch. We can learn so much from each other as we continue to build community and answer the call of Jesus to be a ‘beacon of light’ in the part of the world known as Church of the Nativity, Aberfoyle Park.

Former parishioners are invited to the thanksgiving Mass at 9am on Sunday February 23 followed by morning tea. For catering purposes please RSVP by February 14. abnativity@adam.com.au Ph: 8270 3774

 

 

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