Parish Amalgamation

After 12 years as Parish Priest, Father McKenna was appointed to a position in the Archdiocesan Office. The Archdiocese of Perth advised the Parish that Father Phillip Fleay had been appointed to the position of Parish Priest.

On his appointment to Notre Dame, Father Fleay was given the responsibility to oversee the amalgamation of three separate Parishes into a single entity. This entity was called the Belmont Faith Community and the three Parishes included: Belmont- Redcliffe, Cloverdale and Rivervale. A decreasing number of families attending mass together with an aging clergy resulted in the three Parishes becoming unviable.

The task proved to be a monumental one, particularly as some parishioners from each of the Parishes resisted the move. Balancing entrenched traditions, a parochial mindset, and a lack of appetite to amalgamate, Father Fleay worked through the reform process to create the Belmont Faith Community. This new Parish comprised two Churches: Notre Dame Catholic Church and St Augustine’s Catholic Church. The Archdiocese of Perth had determined that St Anne’s Catholic Church, located in Hehir Street Belmont, would be renovated and given to the Latin Mass community.

St Anne’s Church in Belmont was opened and blessed on 17 March 2010 as a centre for celebration of the Mass in Latin, according to Pope Benedict XVI’s 2007 motu proprio Summorum Pontificum. The Latin Mass community’s Rector is Father Michael Rowe.

Mass times at the two Churches were reviewed to cater for the increased workload for the Parish Priest. Notre Dame remained the main Parish Church and the nearby Presbytery continued as the residence for the Parish Priest. As part of his Parish duties, Father Fleay would minister to the three schools in the Belmont Faith Community: Notre Dame School, St Augustine’s School, and St Maria Goretti School.

During this time, the Catholic Education Office in collaboration with the Archdiocese of Perth conducted a review of the delivery of education in the Belmont-Redcliffe, Carlisle, Cloverdale, and Rivervale Parishes. It was determined that Notre Dame School in Cloverdale and Holy Name School in Carlisle would amalgamate to form one school on the Cloverdale site. A building program was developed with community consultation.

Margaret Sweetman was appointed the first lay Principal at Notre Dame School after the Presentation Sisters withdrew from the school in December 2007. She commenced her appointment in January 2008 with two important tasks. First, was to manage the transition from a religious administered school to a lay administered school. Second, to commence and oversee the amalgamation of the two schools. An important aspect of this was to prepare the staff and parents of Notre Dame for the amalgamation and begin community consultation for the building program.

Having completed her appointed responsibilities, Margaret Sweetman retired from the principalship at Notre Dame in June 2009. Her tireless efforts in this area and professional acumen was appreciated and valued by the school community. The Catholic Education Office appointed Paul Hille as the new Principal at Notre Dame School. He commenced his appointment in July 2009 to continue the amalgamation program and the building of the new school. In November 2009, Archbishop B. J. Hickey advised the two school communities that the name for the new amalgamated school will be Notre Dame Catholic Primary School. This would reinforce the Parish- School relationship with neighbouring Notre Dame Catholic Church.

The new school opened in January 2011, catering for students from Pre-primary to Year 6. The Kindergarten building was completed in June 2011. The total cost of the building program was $10.4 million..

After successfully navigating the Parish reform process, Father Fleay was appointed to the Sacred Heart Parish, Mundaring. Father Fleay left the Parish in September 2010. The Archdiocese of Perth advised the Parish that Father Nelson Po was appointed as the new Parish Priest. Father Po commenced his appointment in November 2010.

Father Po continued the focus on pastoral care within the Parish. Since his appointment, he has explored ways at re-engaging the youth in the celebration of the Eucharist. In addition, he has worked collaboratively with the Parish schools to strengthen the relationship between the Church, the family and the school.

A wonderful feature of the Parish has been the introduction of the Filipino Mass on the last Sunday of each month at the Notre Dame Catholic Church. An increasing number of Filipino families now call the Parish home.

In 2011, the Belmont Faith Community was restructured by the Archdiocese of Perth. A decision was made by the Archbishop, the Most Reverend T. J. Costello to once again establish Rivervale as a separate Parish. Father Po completed his Parish duties at the end of October 2011. The following month, Rivervale was formally established as a separate Parish with the appointment of Father Brian McKenna as the Parish Priest.

Since the restructure, Notre Dame Parish comprises the combined Parishes of Belmont-Redcliffe and Cloverdale. Father Po continues to minister to the two Parish schools: Notre Dame Catholic Primary School and St Maria Goretti’s Catholic School.

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