The Parish of
Warrnambool West & Dennington
St Pius X
80 Morriss Road, Warrnambool West
St John the Baptist
263 Russell Street, Dennington
C/- Post Office
Dennington VIC 3280
(03) 5562 5033
It is expected that from 18 January 2021 Mrs Louise Dryburgh will attend to most business matters concerning St Pius X Parish, West Warrnambool and St John’s Parish, Dennington from an office in St Joseph’s Parish, Warrnambool. (Telephone 5562 2231).
This schedule begins in February. A meeting of communities will review the arrangement in a few months time.
Good-will and support will sustain all of us as we venture into unchartered waters. We are truly blessed in our region with the number and choice of Mass times. A number of faith communities in our Diocese celebrate Mass just once a month. We invite all to continue to support one’s own parish as much as possible as we work together to bring praise and glory to God in our service of one another.
Note also: Our Lady Help of Christians, East Warrnambool
- 6:00pm Saturday Vigil Mass
- 9:00am Sunday Mass
- 10:30am St Carthage’s Allansford
(Eucharist 1st, 3rd and 5th Sundays,
Lay-led Assembly 2nd and 4th Sundays)
Latest Parish Bulletin - 23 Jan 2021Read More View Archives
St Pius X Parish was established in 1970. Its first Parish Priest was the late Father P.M. Bohan and it was then the only totally urban parish in the Diocese of Ballarat. Previously, the area was part of St Joseph’s Parish, Warrnambool, as was St Pius X School which had opened in 1962.
The neighbouring parish of St John the Baptist at Dennington was also part of the Warrnambool parish until 1965 when the late Father G.G. Payne became its first Parish Priest. (His name is commemorated at Dennington’s G.G. Payne Reserve.) The Dennington parish school, now at 263 Russell Street, was opened in 1920 in the former church in Tylden Street.
From the beginning of 2021 the two parishes became part of a single ministry district which includes the parishes of Port Fairy, Koroit and Warrnambool. The ministry district is served by two priests, Father John Fitzgerald (resident in St Joseph’s Parish, Warrnambool) and Father John Corrigan (resident in St Pius X Parish, West Warrnambool).
Father John Fitzgerald and Father John Corrigan
|St John’s Primary School
263 Russell Street
DENNINGTON VIC 3280
Ben van de Camp
|Phone (03) 5562 5362
|St Pius X Primary School
32-34 Hoddle Street
WARRNAMBOOL VIC 328
|Phone (03) 5562 2506
(I shall be retiring as parish priest at the end of 2020 and will no longer be posting homilies on this site. Sincere thanks to all who have encouraged me to share even my most convoluted thoughts in this setting in recent years. MJL.)
It’s a funny thing: this year I’ve been finding it very difficult indeed to write a suitable homily for Christmas. You’d think it’d be the easiest thing. I’ve done it dozens of times before and after all if the worst came to the worst you’d think that you could simply mention the stable, the shepherds and Glory to God in the Highest and you’d be away. But no – it just wasn’t coming. I only hope that my last Christmas homily won’t be memorable as the hardest one you’ve ever had to listen to.
Anyway, let’s see what I can do.
Every single person here knows the Christmas story from beginning to end. We know about the angels and the shepherds, the manger and the swaddling clothes, and we even know about the mean innkeeper who had no room when Mary and Joseph were looking for a place to stay…except, of course, he’s a bit like the lobster in Love Actually’s Nativity Play – he’s a figment of someone’s imagination.
Still, the Gospel tells us is that Jesus was laid in a manger because there was no room at the inn. No innkeeper was necessarily involved, but the narrative does offer us an opportunity to consider what has been going on in our own lives during this extraordinary year…at least in this sense. Even tonight, there’s no room in our churches for all who want to take part in the Christmas Masses. And the people who have been trying to get ready to deal with that unprecedented situation could perhaps have done with the services of a mean innkeeper to tell people who didn’t book in or people who were late arriving, “Sorry: No room in the church!”
It’s been even worse than that for most of this year. Personally, it’s not in my DNA to miss Sunday Mass on purpose, so before this year it never occurred to me that I’d be told that I couldn’t participate in Mass in the church. For me, and for many of you, it was a big loss.
The Christmas story, I think, offers an opportunity to consider why it is such a loss, why being unable to go to Mass is so different from so many other gaps in the lives we take for granted. The closest thing to it, I reckon, is the distance so many people have had to keep from their dearest family members. That’s a situation that has affected the Victorian State Premier who didn’t see his mother for 332 days, just as it affected many and many a less influential person throughout the State and the nation.
In the Christmas story, as it is told in tonight’s Gospel, the angel tells the shepherds “I bring you news of great joy, a joy to be shared by the whole people.” And the whole people includes battlers such as I imagine those shepherds to have been, influential people like the Premier and like the Roman Emperor who apparently decreed the census that took Mary and Joseph to Bethlehem…and it includes people like us, because the Christmas story is a story for all of us.
So: let’s do what we can to have a happy and indeed a holy Christmas this year and may the Christ Child spread his blessings on us, on our families, and on the parishes of Dennington and West Warrnambool tonight and through all the years ahead.
Holy Family B 2020
Today’s Mass is the Mass of the Holy Family, which is to say that it commemorates Jesus, Mary and Joseph and reminds us that, as the Gospel puts it, in “their own town of Nazareth” they lived together as a family.
Both the Second Vatican Council and the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights refer to the family as the basic group unit of society, but I’m sure, especially at Christmas time and most especially at this Christmas time we don’t need such lofty documents to tell us how important family is. If we celebrated Christmas with our family (whether happily or with the usual disagreements) we were reminded of how much family means to us and if we were unable to celebrate it with family, that was also a reminder of how important family is.
It’s essentially in the family that we can hope to find nourishment, shelter, affection, safety, information and understanding – all of them qualities we need for a decent life; but when we consider that today’s feast asks us to consider that the word “holy” can be attached to “family” an opportunity perhaps comes our way to wonder what the word means nowadays and whether it has any relevance to our own family life in the modern world.
After all, however troubled a life the Holy Family had – consider the flight into Egypt, the massacre of the Innocents, the trouble with the Herods for a start – the family that included the Holy Mother of God, St Joseph and the Incarnate Son of God himself is hardly comparable to your family or mine.
And yet the Church, the Church founded by Jesus, is made up of families like yours and mine and we who have presumably tried somehow or other for a happy and holy Christmas should have some appreciation that a degree of holiness is important for us all.
The trouble is, the word has such a bad press. We all know holy Joes and people who are far too holy and no one with any self-respect wants to be considered one of those. We probably need a different word if we’re going to recognise the importance that the quality has in a family with faith.
And that, I think, is what holiness is about when it’s part of family life. It’s about the way we express our faith. It has nothing to do with people who are so heavenly minded as to be no earthly good. It’s more about good people who are good neighbours, good citizens who recognise that they are not gods themselves, because God is, so they are prayerful and choose not to rely on themselves alone, but on the divine assistance that all of us need.
In trying to express what I think it is to be holy, or to belong to a holy family, I’m thinking about some of the people I know around Warrnambool. They’re nice people. I’m thinking of some of those who you can rely on when something needs to be done. I’m thinking of the people who are good for a casserole when a neighbour is sick. I’m thinking of people who drop in to our Mary MacKillop chapel to say a prayer if they happen to be passing. I’m thinking of those who are well-known both in Church life and in civic life. They’re the holy ones and we’d do well to take a leaf out of their book.
It’s easy, of course, to map out a program for others. I hope I may eventually attain some level of contemporary holiness myself and as I fade into a quieter life I ask your prayers that by God’s grace I may eventually look a bit more like the sort of person I’m trying to describe.