The Parish of St Gerard in Melbourne's Dandenong North, was founded in 1956 when the Parish of St Mary's was divided to meet the needs of a continuing influx of Catholic migrants and a growing population.
The first parish in Australia to be named in honour of popular Redemptorist lay brother of the eighteenth century, St Gerard Majella, much has changed at St Gerard's since 1956 but much has stayed the same.
The Parish continues to serve a largely migrant population and continues to reach out beyond the parish itself to the broader community through the Society of St Vincent de Paul, the Legion of Mary and the Knights of the Southern Cross.
In his speech at the Silver Jubilee Parish Priest, Fr Brendan Arthur, acknowledged the efforts of administrators, teachers, parishioners and the many groups and committees which make St Gerard's "the envy of every parish priest."
Parishioner Muriel Naidoo was the driving force behind the dinner dance. She and husband David were members of the committee that coordinated the event.
"It was a tremendous night," says Muriel. "With 350 guests, live music, food and wine."
"The highlight for me was seeing the parishioners coming together and enjoying each other's company and the priests who interacted with all the parishioners until the end of the evening."
"It was a wonderful example of Parish unity," she adds. "People go to Church to pray and attend Mass, but to see everyone together in a different environment, so happy and enjoying good quality food and music was exhilarating. We saw God's light shining through them."
Muriel received numerous messages from parishioners about how much they had enjoyed the event. One particularly touching message came from an elderly parishioner whose husband had recently been ill. The night brought back memories of their early married life when they attended dances several times a week. She valued the joy and happiness that the evening brought to her and her husband.
CCI Personal Insurance is pleased to have been able to provide financial support to the Parish of St Gerard to help them celebrate their Diamond Jubilee.
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