Core Value – Justice
Patron Saint – St Vincent de Paul
Manning House is named after Bishop Kevin Manning who was appointed the second Bishop of Parramatta in 1997. He retired in March 2010 and is now referred to as the 'Emeritus Bishop of Parramatta'.
On Bishop Kevin’s retirement in 2010, the next Bishop of Parramatta, Bishop Anthony Fisher listed the achievements of Bishop Kevin as “leading this diocese as its second bishop through a period of rapid growth, so that it is now bigger than most Australian archdioceses; raising up the new St Patrick’s Cathedral from the ashes of its predecessor; welcoming to the diocese Pope Benedict, the World Youth Day cross and icon, the Indigenous message stick and, of course, the young people of the world in 2008; building bridges to other Christian communities and other faiths, especially the Muslim community in Western Sydney; campaigns for justice for workers, Aboriginal people, migrants and refugees, women and families; efforts to build up and diversify the body of priests, deacons, religious and lay ministers in the diocese.”
Bishop Manning was born in Coolah, NSW, in 1933. He is the second eldest in a family of five boys and two girls, born to Kevin and Edith Manning. He attended Sacred Heart Primary School in Coolah before going on to St Columba’s College, Springwood, where he later began his studies for the priesthood. He was selected to complete his studies at Propaganda Fide College in Rome, where he was ordained on 21 December 1961.
Manning House is blue to represent the Coat of Arms of the Diocese of Parramatta reflecting the colours and images that are identified with Parramatta and the wide area of the sea. The blue of the shield runs from the City to the Blue Mountains, as shown by two points at the top of the top of the shield. The shield is cut in half by the river - this represents the Nepean Hawkesbury River.
Core Value – Service
Patron Saint – St Peter
Roncalli House is named after Angelo Giuseppe Roncalli, who was elected as Pope in 1958 and was known as John XXIII, the name of both our parish and learning community.
The most momentous act of his pontificate was his decision to call an ecumenical council of the Universal Church, the first since 1870 and only the twenty-first in the Church’s 2,000 year history. Saint John’s motive in calling one was to bring about a renewal - a “new Pentecost” - in the life of the Church, to adapt its organisation and teaching to the needs of the modern world, and to have as its more far-reaching goal the eventual unity of all Christians. He referred to his vision as aggiornamento, literally meaning “bringing up to date.” The Second Vatican Council convened in St. Peter’s in October 1962.
Saint John’s reign was marked by the great advance in ecumenical relations between the Catholic Church and other religious bodies including the Orthodox Churches and the Jewish people. He envisioned Christian unity as one of the ultimate goals of the Council, John’s encyclical, Pacem in Terris, was unique in being the first one ever addressed “to all men of good will” not just Catholics. This encyclical enumerated the rights of the human person - to life, to respect, to freedom, to an education, to be informed, and the obligations of the citizen to the state and of states to their citizens and to each other. In an age largely given over to secularism, he not only increased the prestige of the papacy but also restored the importance and relevance of religion to a degree that few would have thought possible. By concentrating on what unites men rather than on what divides them, he took the first steps toward the eventual unity of all Christians.
Born in 1881, John XXIII was 76 years old when he came to the papal throne as what many thought, a transitional or “caretaker” Pope. Although his reign was brief, his pontificate was one of the most important since the Middle Ages. Much of this significance stemmed from his unique personality. John endeared himself to the whole world by his warmth, humour, and easy approachability. His working class background, period of military service and work with prisoners of war in World War Two gave him a broad understanding of social justice issues and the problems of the common people. Saint John unfortunately did not live to see the end of the Second Vatican Council, passing away on June 3, 1963. Roncalli House is yellow to reflect the colour of the Lion of St Mark the Evangelist which features on Saint John XXIII’s Papal Coat of Arms.
Core Value – Faith
Patron Saint – St Patrick
Xavier House is named after Sister Mary Xavier Williams, who in 1838, as a novice Sister of Charity, was one of the first five female Religious ever to set foot on Australian soil, when they landed in Sydney after a long sea voyage from Ireland.
In the early years the Sisters visited and instructed the Catholic female convicts at the Cascades Female Factory and H.M.S. Anson; patients in the Hospital; the poor and sick in their homes and the orphans in the Queen’s orphanage at New Town.
A member of the group of three to sail across Bass Strait in June 1847 to pioneer Convent Life and Ministry in Hobart, Tasmania, Sr Xavier Williams is named in records as the first Religious Principal of a Tasmanian school – St Joseph’s Girls’ School, in Macquarie Street.
In 1871 Sister Xavier Williams became the Mother Superior of the Tasmanian Sisters of Charity and when the Government orphanage closed she was very concerned about the future of those still in need of care. She was able to purchase an office block opposite the convent in Harrington Street and opened St Joseph’s Orphanage in 1879.
Sr Xavier Williams, a young Irish Sister of Charity, was the first female Religious to make public Profession of Vows in the young colony in St Patrick’s Cathedral Parramatta on 9 March 1839. She lived to celebrate the Golden Jubilee of her Profession in 1889 in Hobart. She died in 1892.
Xavier House is green to represent the Irish heritage of both the Church here in Australia and Sister Xavier Williams as well as the Cathedral of Parramatta, named after St Patrick the patron saint of Ireland.
Core Value – Love
Patron Saint – St Mark the Evangelist
Darug House is named after the Darug Nation, the traditional custodians of the land on which our parish and learning community are built.
For tens of thousands of years Aboriginal people lived in harmony with their country. The Darug people practiced fire-stick farming in and around Sydney. The resultant firing of the landscape was carried out for a variety of reasons. Fire-stick farming opened up the access to land and created pockets of early succession vegetation that increased the amount of important plant foods. Early regrowth vegetation, particularly grasses, attracted animals, which in turn made them easier to hunt. Firing of the landscape was an important tool in manipulating the environment to increase food sources and to broaden their range of food. In fact there was so much food that groups could live in one area for weeks or even months at a time. Darug tradition and tribal law stipulated that you may only take from the land what was necessary for survival.
Darug culture is rich in spiritual meaning, with individuals linked through kinship relationships and a close relationship with the place in which he or she was conceived. This relationship carried with it responsibilities to land, community, plant and animal life. These responsibilities were taught by the Elders of the community. Aboriginal Law regulated the customs, ceremonies and conduct of the Darug. These laws were passed from generation to generation through song, dance and story.
The Darug lore extended across the Cumberland Plain area in western Sydney and it stretched from Wisemans Ferry in the north down to Camden in the south. They also extended into the foothills of the Blue Mountains in the west and the Hills District to the east. The clans of the Darug nation were decimated by the establishment of the colony which resulted in both loss of land and exposure to disease. Many pioneers of the Catholic Church, however, worked tirelessly to champion the rights of the indigenous people. Today the Darug people have been joined in the western suburbs of Sydney by Torres Strait Islanders and by Aboriginal people from all over Australia, creating the largest concentration of Indigenous people anywhere in New South Wales. The cultures are not only preserved, but are growing stronger. Theirs is a story of resistance, survival and now reaffirmation.
Darug House is red to reflect the colour of the Australian landscape, Mother to the Aboriginal people and foundational to their spirituality and existence.