The History of our Parish

Our Parish Began in 1948 under the Care of the Dominican Fathers
The Dominican Fathers, a Roman Catholic Religious Order of priests, founded in the 13th century, purchased “Greenmeadows” in Billyard Ave, then owned by Mr. and Mrs. Noel Hunt. On 16 March 1948 they established a house of formation for Dominican students preparing for Ordination, celebrating the first Mass on 17 March, St. Patrick’s Day. The founding Priors were Fr. Mannes Cussen (Dominican Provincial) and Fr. Bernard Curran. The first group of Dominican professors and students arrived on 29 March 1948.

The Parish of Holy Name was established on 18th March 1948, by decree of Cardinal Norman Gilroy, Archbishop of Sydney, as a parish of the Archdiocese of Sydney , and was immediately placed under the pastoral care of the Dominican Fathers. The first parish priest was Fr. Columba Jennings. The parish had just 40 families at that time. The current parish “sunroom” (the original home’s drawing room) was used as the first parish church. The construction of the large church began in October 1951 and was designed by Mrs. Nancy Davey. It was opened on 21 March 1954 and was consecrated by Bishop Muldoon, Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Sydney, on 25 April 1982.

On 7 May1950 the Dominican Sisters opened Prouille School in Water Street, and then later transferred St. Lucy’s School from Homebush to Wahroonga in 1960. New buildings at St Lucy’s were blessed by Pope Paul VI in 1970. Prouille School was transferred to the care of the parish in 1965 and then to the administration of the Catholic Schools Office of the Diocese of Broken Bay in the late 1990s.

Over the first fifty years of our history, many different Religious Orders were also a part of the community at Wahroonga: the Dominican Sisters (who had their Novitiate at “Berith Park” until 1979, and at “St. Catherine’s” on Chilton Parade, the Sisters of Charity, the Franciscan Fathers (at Mt. Alverna on Burns Rd), the Patrician Brothers, the Christian Brothers of Ireland, the Marist Brothers, the Missionary Sisters of the Society of Mary, the Carmelite Fathers, the Bathurst Sisters of Mercy, and the Columban Fathers.

Under the Care of the Diocese of Broken Bay
In 1986 the Diocese of Broken Bay was formed from the Archdiocese of Sydney, and thus the parish became part of the new diocese. The Dominican Fathers held the care of the parish until 1997, when the parish was placed more directly under the care of the Diocese of Broken Bay. Fr. Carmelo Scriberras was appointed Parish Priest in 1997. Fr. Carmelo refurbished our beautiful sanctuary, dedicated in July 2003. He was succeeded by Fr. Steven Hume in 2004 who was joined by Fr. Martin Aye Ngwe in 2009. Fr. David Ranson was made administrator of the Parish in October 2012, assisted by Fr. Quang van Nguyen from Vietnam. Fr. David was then appointed Parish Priest in May 2015, assisted by Fr Anselam Lakra. He was succeeded by Fr Paul Durkin in January 2021 as Parish Priest and assisted by Fr Sam French.

According to the 2011 Australian Census there were 4,505 Catholics in our parish and 1,655 families

The Feast Day of our Parish

3 January


The Feast of the Holy Name of Jesus has been celebrated in the Roman Catholic Church since the end of the fifteenth century. The celebration has been held on different dates, usually in January, because 1 January, eight days after Christmas, commemorates the circumcision and naming of the child Jesus; as recounted in the Gospel read on that day, "at the end of eight days, when he was circumcised, he was called Jesus, the name given by the angel before he was conceived in the womb." Medieval Catholicism, and
many other Christian churches to the present day, therefore celebrated both events as the Feast of the Circumcision of Christ, usually on 1 January. Bernardino of Siena placed great emphasis on the Holy Name, which he associated with the IHS Christogram, and may be responsible for the coupling of the two elements.

The reverence and affection with which Christians have regarded the Holy Name of Jesus goes back to the earliest days of Christianity, as shown in Acts 4:10 and Philippians 2:10. Devotion to and veneration of the IHS monogram, (derived from the Greek word for Jesus, ΙΗΣΟΥΣ, or referring to Iesus Hominum Salvator, Jesus saviour of mankind) also dates back to the early days of Christianity, where it was placed on altars and religious vestments, ornaments and other objects. The IHS monogram is also found on a gold coin from the eighth century.

Medieval devotions to the Holy Name in England were promoted by Anselm of Canterbury early in the 12th century. In continental Europe, shortly after Anselm, the veneration of the Holy Name was strongly encouraged by Bernard of Clairvaux in his sermons and
writings. Bernard's writings such as the Sermon on the Canticles later influenced others such as Richard Rolle who expressed similar views, e.g., that of the Holy Name acting as a "healing ointment" for the soul. Official recognition for the Holy Name was provided by Pope Gregory X at the Council of Lyons in 1274. In the 14th century, Henry Suso in Germany and Richard Rolle in England promoted devotions to the Name of Jesus. Rolle believed that the name Jesus has awesome intrinsic power, in a manner reminiscent of the Old Testament reverence of the name Jehovah. In Rolle's view the act of calling on the Holy Name purifies the soul and amounts to a reconstruction of the self as a contemplative. Rolle composed a number of lyrics about the Holy Name. The tradition of devotion to and reverence for the Holy Name continued through the 14th and 15th centuries in England as the belief in its miraculous powers became widespread. Walter Hilton's classic work Scale of Perfection included a long passage on the Holy Name. In this period popular beliefs on the power of the Name of Jesus at times coincided with the belief in the power of the Holy Name of Mary. The belief in the power of the Holy Name had a strong visual component and the IHS monogram as well as Crucifixion scenes were widely used along with it. In the 15th century, the Franciscan Bernardine of Siena actively promoted the devotion to the Holy Name. At the end of his sermons he usually displayed the trigram IHS on a tablet in gold letters. Bernardine would then ask the audience to "adore the Redeemer of mankind." Given that this practice had an unorthodox air, he was brought before Pope Martin V, who instead of rebuking Bernardine, encouraged the practice and joined a procession for it in Rome. The devotion to the Holy Name became so popular in Italy that the IHS trigram was often inscribed over the doorways of houses. The tablet used by Bernardine is now venerated at the basilica of Santa Maria in Aracoeli in Rome.

A number of religious communities dedicated to the Holy Name of Jesus have been formed since the Middle Ages. In the 16th century, the Jesuits made the IHS monogram the emblem of their society, by adding a cross over the H and by showing three nails underneath it. A number of Christian prayers refer to the Holy Name. The Jesus prayer, which perhaps dates to the 4th century, is widely used in the Eastern Church. The Litany of the Holy Name used in the Western Church dates to around the late 6th century. Devotions to the Holy Name continued also in the Eastern Church into the 19th and 20th centuries. St. Theophan the Recluse regarded the Jesus Prayer stronger than all other prayers by virtue of the power of the Holy Name and St. John of Kronstadt stated: "The Name of the Lord is the Lord Himself.”
Taken from Wikipedia

Praying in our Church

Our church is opened every day from about 7:00am to 7:00pm
Come in and rest a while!

To the right of the Sanctuary is our Marian Chapel
Mary, the Mother of Jesus, has a special place in Catholic devotion. She is the paradigm of Christian discipleship as one who hears the Word of God and allows that Word to be brought to life within her. As the Gospel of John indicates, she is given to us as our own mother to nurture our faith, and to guide our discipleship of her Son. As the 2nd chapter of the Gospel of John teaches Mary intercedes for us before her Son. Before our beautiful representation of Mary we have a devotional candle stand. You are welcome to light a candle as a sign of the prayer that you bring to her maternal care.

To the left of the Sanctuary is our Chapel of the Sacred Heart of Jesus
On the western side of the church is our Chapel of St. Martin de Porres
St Martin was a 16th century Dominican Saint from Peru. He had a special outreach to the sick, and our remarkable Parish Eucharistic Ministry to the Sick is now entrusted to his patronage. This chapel is a place where the sick might be especially remembered. A candle burns for those who are sick and our special intentions box has been placed before the image of St. Martin. You are most welcome to place an intention or intercession in the box, and the intention or intercession will be prayed for during our Friday evening Mass and Holy Hour.

In our Chapel of St. Martin de Porres we also honour those from our Parish who have dedicated their lives as consecrated Religioius, and we also honour those from our Parish who have served in the Armed Forces in defence of our country.

On the eastern side of the church is our Chapel of Thomas Aquinas
This chapel now houses an icon of the Holy Family in honour of St Joseph in 2021.
Please feel most welcome to spend some time in prayer in each of our beautiful chapels.
The Rosary is prayed each Tuesday-Friday after 9.15am Mass