ABOUT US

Our Parish

frchris

St Oliver Plunkett’s Parish is located in the suburb of Harris Park in the Diocese of Parramatta.

Our Parish provides a warm and welcoming space to worship for those who live near and far. At the heart of our Parish are our Parishioners who provide life and vibrancy to our services. Whether living locally or travelling from distant places, all are welcome to worship at St Oliver Plunkett’s Parish.

If you have any queries about Marriage Ceremonies or Baptisms at our church or want to learn more about Parish Life, please feel free to contact the Parish Office anytime.

Our history

The history of the church in Harris Park is unusual.

In his Will, Jack McCreedie, a wealthy merchant and amateur astronomer, decreed that no portion of his land at Harris Park should ever become associated with Catholicism.

However, in 1926, when his home and land went up for auction, a group of Catholics including Rev Dr Sheey, Granville Parish Priest, got together and with a well-supported campaign raised the money to buy the mansion and land. McReedie’s Allen Street mansion - Kenilworth House - became the convent and juniorate for those considering becoming nuns and was dedicated Mary’s Mount.

When the Convent was established plans were made for building a church and school on adjacent land and the foundation stone was laid in October 1929. The first Mass was celebrated on Christmas Day 1929. In 1930 the school/church, dedicated to Blessed Oliver Plunkett, an Irish martyr, opened its doors.

Blessed Oliver was canonised in 1976 and so the Parish became St Oliver’s. Over the years many changes have taken place at Harris Park. In 1967, a carpenter was employed to make several renovations to Mary’s Mount. One day, from a dismantled fireplace he unearthed a broken bottle.

Securely and secretly tucked away in a section of the glass bottle was a piece of parchment-like paper wrapped around the tiny statues of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception and the Sacred Heart.

Where McCreedie once ruled supreme and tried to assert his will from the grave, a new generation of the devout interpret this emergence as a direct result of prayer, especially that first one in the bottle.

In 2013, the heritage-listed Kenilworth House was converted into the new home of Holy Spirit Seminary, the seminary of the Diocese of Parramatta.

st oliver bust

Our Patron Saint
St Oliver Plunkett

Oliver Plunkett was born in Loughcrew in County Meath, Ireland on November 1, 1629. In 1647, he went to study for the priesthood in the Irish College in Rome. On January 1, 1654, he was ordained a priest in the Propaganda College in Rome.

Due to religious persecution in his native land, it was not possible for him to return to minister to his people. Oliver taught in Rome until 1669, when he was appointed Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of Ireland. Archbishop Plunkett soon established himself as a man of peace and, with religious fervor, set about visiting his people, establishing schools, ordaining priests, and confirming thousands.

1673 brought a renewal of religious persecution, and bishops were banned by edict. Archbishop Plunkett went into hiding, suffering a great deal from cold and hunger. His many letters showed his determination not to abandon his people, but to remain a faithful shepherd. He thanked God "Who gave us the grace to suffer for the chair of Peter." The persecution eased a little and he was able to move more openly among his people.

In 1679 he was arrested and falsely charged with treason. The government in power could not get him convicted at his trial in Dundalk.

He was brought to London and was unable to defend himself because he was not given time to bring his own witnesses from Ireland. He was put on trial, and with the help of perjured witnesses, was sentenced to be hanged, drawn and quartered at Tyburn.

With deep serenity of soul, he was prepared to die, calmly rebutting the charge of treason, refusing to save himself by giving false evidence against his brother bishops. Oliver Plunkett publicly forgave all those who were responsible for his death on July 1, 1681. On October 12, 1975, he was canonized a saint. His feast day is July 1.

St Oliver's Primary

St Oliver’s Primary Harris Park is a co-educational Catholic school promoting quality learning and teaching from Kindergarten to Year 6.

Our professional and dedicated teaching staff encourage students to reach their potential in a caring and safe learning environment.

We live by the Gospel values of tolerance and respect by celebrating our school's diverse cultures and customs.

The school offers excellent educational programs for parents from non-English speaking backgrounds to encourage closer relationships with the School and Parish communities.

Please contact the school directly for more information.

painting hands