Mass in St Johns School Hall
Mass in Scarborough was originally celebrated in the current hall of St Johns School. St Johns was blessed and opened by His Grace, Archbishop Prendiville, on Sunday 20 December 1936. At that stage Scarborough was a Mass Centre that was looked after by the Parish at Osborne Park.
The post-war period brought rapid growth to Scarborough through immigration. In 1948 the Parish Church was built, together with the appointment of the first Parish Priest, Reverend Edward McBride. Later in 1952, the Parish was dedicated to our patron saint, Immaculate Heart of Mary.
The original Immaculate Heart of Mary church.
Ethel and Paul Horan's wedding with Fr McBride at Immaculate Heart of Mary Church on 12 September 1955, prior to the sanctuary renovations.
In 1967 a new sanctuary was built around the north end of the church, as well as the installation of the magnificent stained glass windows. These windows, designed by Ken Wildy and installed by the firm of E G Gowers & A S Brown, have great architectural importance with respect to the glass being set into concrete. The diffusing of this coloured light, rich with symbols, gives glorify to Almighty God.
The new sanctuary renovations and stained glass installation.
The Immaculate Heart of Mary stained-glass window, also set in concrete, is to be found in the south wall of the church in the choir loft. It represents the Immaculate Heart of Mary, from which the name of our church is derived. The heart which glows in the centre is easily distinguishable. The apparitions at Fatima in 1917 inspired the design with it's white roses and thorn growth. Radiant streams flow from the centre of the heart, with this radiance representing the love of the heart of Mary for her Divine Son, and for each of us. It is a heart burning with love, and the blue folds which flow downwards symbolise the mantle of Our Blessed Mother in whom we seek protection.
In 2017 in response to Archdiocesan audits, the Parish Priest, Reverend Fr Benedict Lee, with discussion with the Parish community, was directed to have the Church revitalised to meet current community needs. These major internal renovations were another key milestone in our history as a Parish.
The Church environment and furnishings have been carefully considered for "noble simplicity rather than to ostentation" (General Instruction of the Roman Missal, n.292.) A new wooden altar and matching ambo were made, capturing with elegance the above precepts of the Church. For the Liturgy of the Word, the ambo has been designed as an open book.
The official opening of the newly renovated church by The Most Reverend Timothy Costelloe, Archbishop of Perth, 23 July 2017.
The sanctuary was also brought forward to be closer to the assembly. A partition was constructed across the sanctuary upon which our original tabernacle rests, and behind which our original altar stands. The church interior was painted white, expressing the liturgical colour of the Resurrection, and new red carpet was laid. A slim window of glass was embedded in the north wall of the Church between the two existing stain glass windows, bringing more of God's natural light upon the sanctuary. The original church Crucifix is suspended over the sanctuary on a steel cross-beam. This was an engineering necessity, but with faith-filled imagination one sees the open arms of Christ on the cross, embracing the Parish, while holding the Church together. The church foyer was decluttered and brightened with new stone tiles, and new glass doors and a window offering welcome and light.
On 23 July 2017, The Most Reverend Archbishop Timothy Costelloe SDB, Archbishop of Perth, celebrated Mass together with Fr Benedict Lee and Fr Henry Byrne. The Archbishop blessed the renovations and consecrated the new altar.
The renovated church foyer.
Today, the church of Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish continues to stand in honour of our Lord and under the patronage of His beloved mother, Mary. The meaning of 'church' in Catholic understanding however is much more than just the physical building. The Church is the baptised community of faith, the "living stones" who make this "spiritual house" (1 Pet 2:5). Many longstanding members of our Parish community have lived within its boundaries for over fifty years, embodying the steadfast fidelity of the Catholic community of Scarborough. With one voice, and as the Body of Christ, the Church in Scarborough continues to gather in this sacred space to give worship and glory to God.