Later Years

In July 1976, Father Kelly was granted leave of absence from the Parish for an indefinite period. He had been suffering ill-health for some time. In November 1976, the Parish was advised that due to increasing ill-health, Father Kelly formally resigned. In early December, the Archdiocese advised the Parish that a new Priest had been appointed to Notre Dame. Father William Buckley arrived on 21 December 1976.

Father Buckley brought considerable experience in pastoral care to the Parish. This proved to be an asset with the increase in families attending Mass, particularly new arrivals from overseas. His gentle approach, sense of humour and his accessibility are the qualities most remembered and valued by parishioners. The involvement of the laity in the celebration of the Eucharist at Notre Dame expanded and increased during this time. Father Buckley supported the training and appointment of individuals to the liturgical ministry of the Acolyte and the introduction of Special Ministers of Holy Communion.

Both the Legion of Mary and the St Vincent de Paul Society grew and expanded in the community; having operated within the Parish since 1961 and 1971, respectively. The introduction of weekly Home Rosary meetings was well received by Parishioners and the practice has continued since the mid-1970s.

After continued ill-health, Father Buckley died on 3 June 1994; having served as Parish Priest for 18 years. The Archdiocese of Perth appointed Father Brian McKenna as the new Parish Priest. He arrived in the Parish on 1 October 1994. Later that month, Sister Ngaire Roil, from Our Lady of the Cenacle Congregation, arrived to take up the position of Parish Pastoral Assistant at Notre Dame.

Catholic Outreach was introduced in the Parish to encourage care initiatives. These initiatives included voluntary mutual assistance programs to support those individuals that are sick and distressed. Notre Dame Care was launched on 22 October 1995 with the aim of assisting individuals in need of short term emergency help. The initiative was coordinated by Ruth Brown, Stephanie Douglas, Shirley Loveday and Jane Murphy.

The Parish had no community centre where the various groups could meet and to host social events. Meetings were held either at the Presbytery or in the small ‘meeting room’ shed at the rear of the Church. Large social events were held in the grounds of the school. The desire for a Parish Centre had been expressed by parishioners since the completion and opening of the Church in 1971.

On 2 October 1996, the Parish Council explored the feasibility of building a Parish Centre and the development of a building program. At a subsequent General Parish Meeting on 19 March 1997, parishioners approved the concept of a Parish Centre and the building program. The Parish Centre was blessed and opened by Father Brian McKenna on 22 February 1998. The Centre has become a wonderful venue for various social events and serves as an important contributor to nurturing community spirit.

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