How we got to Ingleburn
So, if a visitor wandered in and said to a parishioner, ‘What a beautiful church!’ the parishioner would respond, ‘Yes, and the building is nice too.’ The church building should be as beautiful as the church people are!”
About 60 years ago, the Macarthur Region between the Georges River and the old Hume Highway was a rich rural area mainly consisting of cattle and beef farms, stud, poultry and agricultural farms, with a railway line from Liverpool to Campbelltown and Camden. Campbelltown was the only Catholic parish stretching south to Appin where there was a sandstone church and to Glenfield in the north. The Ingleburn Army Camp—built during World War II on donated farmland—included two small Catholic and Anglican chapels for the soldiers and attended also by the local resident farmers.
With the population starting to spread south of Liverpool from Western Sydney, Bishop Thomas McCabe of the Diocese of Wollongong gave permission to Fr Thomas Grant of Campbelltown to erect small churches north of Campelltown, namely Holy Trinity at Minto, Our Lady of Sorrows at Macquarie Fields and Christ the King at Glenfield, which were blessed and opened on the same day in 1962.
As housing and industrial areas developed and grew along the railway line, Bishop McCabe decided in 1968 to divide Campbelltown into two parishes, and so Ingleburn was formed as the first parish after Campbelltown, consisting of the suburbs of Minto, Ingleburn, Macquarie Fields and Glenfield—when Ingleburn still had no church.
Fr Frank O’Hara was appointed the first parish priest and took up residence, establishing an old army hut near the Ingleburn railway station as the first parish church in late 1968 named St Christopher’s Catholic Church.
Fr Frank stayed until mid-February 1972, when Fr Leo Kearns arrived as the new parish priest. He designed a building that was intended to be used as a temporary church and to be converted easily into a parish school hall later. The church and the parish were named after the Holy Family. The church was blessed and opened by Mgr Herbert O’Reilly, vicar capitular of the Diocese of Wollongong on 26 January 1975. Since then, a number of other parishes in the region have been formed, including Ruse, Eagle Vale, Varroville, Macquarie Fields and Rosemeadow.
The historical significance of our parish is that even though Ingleburn was the first parish to be formed after Campbelltown, it was the last of these parishes to have its own proper dedicated parish church. On 1 February 2017, Bishop Peter Ingham of the Diocese of Wollongong and dedicated parish priest of 36 years, Fr Peter Caruana (recently retired), were joined by over 500 faithful, including clergy, religious and laity, as they celebrated a Mass of Dedication for the new church on the parish site—a beautiful building in the Romanesque style: clean and dignified in design, large enough to seat 600 people and with a bell tower that points to heaven.
During the Mass of Dedication, Bishop Ingham opened his homily with, “At last, the long-awaited day has come! Here we are by God’s grace and the diligent selfless saving by your parish priest, Fr Peter Caruana.” Bishop Ingham continued, “Holy Family Church is now a very visible building in this neighbourhood—a sign of the presence of God amongst his people.
“You and I are God’s building, built on the foundation who is Jesus Christ. The Church is people—this building is the house where the Church gathers.… So, if a visitor wandered in and said to a parishioner, ‘What a beautiful church!’ the parishioner would respond, ‘Yes, and the building is nice too.’ The church building should be as beautiful as the church people are!”
Since the projected population growth of Ingleburn and Minto is predicted to double over the next few decades, there is much spiritual growth and evangelisation needed in the parish, and we are truly blessed to have our new church building after 27 years of patient prayer, saving and planning. As Scripture says, “You have kept the best wine till now” (John 2:10).
We give thanks to God, and to all present and past parishioners, for all that has been achieved and contributed for the welfare of our parish, and we hope and pray that you will join us in our mission to know, love and serve Jesus in Ingleburn and Minto.
If you would like to know more about the history of our parish and its people, download our beautiful book Holy Family Parish: Celebrating 50 Years.