MIRRABOOKA PARISH -
The Neocats' Australian "jewel in the crown" in Perth
Gerard's parish at Mirrabooka
is the site of the Neocatechumenal Way's introduction
to Perth (and Australia).
Don Sproxton, the
parish priest at the time (some
10 years ago) was
very active in consolidating the Way in
the parish. Sproxton has subsequently
been elevated to Auxiliary Bishop.
was strongly promoted as the Neocat jewel in the crown;
it was presented to other parishes as a prime example
of the Fruits and
Joy that could flow from embracing the Way.
When the people
of St Gerard's heard of the damage being done
by the Way in Kelmscott they realised that they were not alone,
and wrote the letter reproduced below to the
Archbishop to inform him of the
situation in Mirrabooka.
The Archbishop subsequently
met with some of the parishioners and indicated that he would
try and provide a non-Neocat priest.
One has indeed been provided but he is there
to care for the African population in the parish.
11 February 2005-08-08
Most Rev. Archbishop Barry Hickey
St Mary’s Cathedral
17 Victoria Avenue
Perth WA 6000
PETITION FROM PARISHIONERS OF ST
We, the undersigned parishioners
of St Gerard Majella Parish comprising
Westminster, Balga, and Dianella West wish to petition you
on behalf of members of our Parish.
For the last few years we have
been very unhappy with certain situations in the Parish. It was
one of the largest and most vibrant
Parishes in the Archdiocese and attendances at weekend Mass were
above average. We also had a good daily attendance at Mass from
Monday to Saturday morning.
Now, our Parish numbers have dwindled
considerably and even on weekends the services are nowhere near
supported as in previous
years, because we have lost a lot of good parishioners to other
OUR PARISH IS DIVIDED AND HAS BEEN FOR SOME TIME.
division between original Parishioners and the Neo-Catechumenate
Communities who have evolved within our Parish is obvious. We
are tired of hearing “CONFESSIONS” from the (Neo-Catechumenate)
each time they give a Homily during the celebration of Mass and
are continually reminded that we are sinners. We know of our
sinfulness but also know of God’s unconditional love for us, otherwise
would not continue wanting to receive the Grace of God at Mass.
Even when a new Community is being established we are subjected
to listening to members of this Community parading their sins
before us and finds this embarrassing and insulting.
of Parishioners are NOT in the already established Neo-catechumenate
communities, which are comprised of people from
other suburbs in the Archdiocese. We have nothing against the
Neo-catechumenate people as individuals, but rather the concept
of the Neo-catechumenate
Way. What we object to is being forced to listen to Neo-catechumenate
priests preach the format of the Neo-catechumenate way whilst
at Mass, when we are under the banner of your Perth Archdiocese.
It would seem that Archdiocesan Parish Priests no longer wish
serve in the Parish of St Gerard Majella.
The parishioners are
also upset that our appointed priest, Fr Gerard Beeson, was in
our Parish for a period of only 18-20 month.
He was much loved by the people, and he gave excellent Homilies,
which touched our inner-being and related well to our Catholic
Then without warning, whilst on extended holidays,
the Parish was finally informed that Fr Gerard would not be returning
Parish. No reasons were given for this, and with little explanation.
This caused much ill feeling and disappointment among us, at
being able to say farewell to Fr Gerard in the usual manner and
we ask ourselves “WHY WAS IT DONE THIS WAY?”
As you can gather
WE ARE VERY UNHAPPY PARISHIONERS AND DON’T LIKE WHAT IS HAPPENING
TO OUR PARISH. WE FEAR THAT OUR PARISH WILL BECOME
A TOTAL NEO-CATECHUMENATE ENVIRONMENT, WHICH WILL SEPARATE AND
DIVIDE US FURTHER. MANY MORE PARISHIONERS WILL LEAVE. A NEO-CATECHUMENATE
PARISH PRIEST IS NOT WHAT WE DESIRE.
The majority of the Neo-catechumenate
communities are not from our Parish. May be if they desire, they
could purchase their own
block of land and build a church for their communities and have
their Priests with them.
We would like to have a meeting with
you, at your earliest convenience, before announcing the appointment
of a Parish Priest, to discuss
in an open manner the problems as we see them. Air our views,
and take advice from you. We hope we are not too late in putting
We await your reply and meeting date.
The undersigned Parishioners of St Gerard Majella
The Record - Perth's weekly Catholic newspaper - has been running a
with full blown articles and pictures. Dismayed
and angered by the questionable representation
some of the Mirrabooka parishioners wrote the
following letter to The Record's editor.
Here is part of an email
message from Mirrabooka:
For reasons best known to
themselves, the Record has not seen fit to publish the E-mail I sent
them some weeks ago. Why am I not surprised? Later I learned that J..., a member
editorial staff, is a staunch neo-cat in this area, so I guess that explains
Still its a blessed relief
to celebrate Mass in a neighbouring parish among friends
who have preceded us from St. Gerards.
The sad fate of St.
Patricks Bunbury was a natural disaster caused by the ravages
of time and weather. The slow painful
destruction of St.Gerards Mirrabooka,
which began over ten years ago, is a man-made disaster, with the uninvited
arrival of the neo-catechumenate movement and their elitist, secretive
and divisive attitude of “Join the movement or be damned.”
I have always believed
I was born into the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church - now, I wonder.
This unwanted group of zealots has driven a wedge between their clique
and foundation members of the Parish, which is widening
every week. As a result,
each Sunday there are more and more ‘new refugee faces’ at a neighboring
church celebrating Mass in a loving caring faith gathering.
The fact that some members of the
hierarchy extol the activities of this evangelizing movement
does not excuse the groups’ unholy
and arrogant manner when speaking to the converted, especially
women. Let them feel free to exercise their zeal elsewhere and
leave us to pray the Rosary in peace and grant us a Parish Priest
who can preach the Gospel as Christ intended from His sermon on
From the happy pioneering days
when the then Fr. Quinn said Sunday Mass in a school classroom,
St. Gerards grew into a vibrant
multi-cultural Parish. It is now two churches; one, a group of
disillusioned elders seeking shelter elsewhere; two, the emerging
catechumenate overlay striving to leave its mark in the name of
“Mission”. This should not be. Where is the Oneness and holiness
Hopefully, the Catholics of Bunbury will have a new Cathedral
in two years time, to worship as before. Meanwhile, many Mirrabooka
Catholics are angered at having their church usurped and being
left wandering in a spiritual wilderness.
Yours in Christ