Mater Dei, Blakehurst

Mater Dei, Blakehurst

Blakehurst was originally attached to the parishes of South Hurstville and Kogarah, but in May 1955 Father Michael Francis Kennedy became founding priest of the Mater Dei parish and the first Mass was celebrated on Ascension Thursday on the back verandah of the cottage.

Father Kennedy's driving force and the early generosity of the people of Blakehurst allowed work to begin on a new dual purpose church-hall early the following year, and it was completed and ready for Mass in October 1956.

The parish saw the early introduction of weekly contribution envelopes, and two adjoining houses and a service station site were purchased for expansion, including the the school on which construction began in 1960.

Changes to the interior of Mater Dei were made after the arrival of Fr Tom Kerr as Parish Priest in late 1973, turning it into a Church rather than a church-hall; the school was further extended with three demountable classrooms; the office was renovated; and the convent made into a library.

Enthusiastic parishioners took up the call to form a Parish Pastoral Council in 1994 under Fr Terence Goodall.

There was a further upgrading of school facilities, and the building of the Michael Kennedy Multipurpose Centre.

Fr Terence retired in 2003, and Fr Philip Linder succeeded him as Parish Priest of both Mater Dei and St Raphael's Parishes.

Current Parish Priest, Fr Isidore Anatharaj, arrived after Fr Phil was transferred to Sydney Harbour North Parishes, and is leading the continued strong spiritual and physical development Mater Dei – "a special parish".