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Fr Mark O'Brien, OP - Former Prior

Over the more than forty years I have spent in Melbourne at St. Dominic's, one of my treasured memories is the Stations of the Cross service that is held every Good Friday in Highfield Park. I am not sure when this began but it has been and remains in my view a memorable event in the yearly life of the parish. 

 

What makes this event particularly memorable is that it is ecumenical, an initiative of a group of Cantebury and Camberwell churches;  it is open to all the public in that the service takes place in Highfield Park and so beyond the confines of each of our denominational churches; it has been well attended over the years and continues to be well attended; and it is enhanced by singing  that is led by the wonderful Tongan choir.

Fr Paul Rowse, OP - Parish Priest

St Dominic’s had a special role in my discernment to become a friar.  After some years of uncertainty and hesitancy, I made a visit here from Sydney one weekend in November 2002.  But as soon as I walked into the choir area of our beautiful church, I had a spiritual insight given me: this place was home.  In fact, the insight was so clear that I audibly gasped.  Ever since then, however my day might have gone, to come to St Dominic’s for prayer is to come home.  Thanks be to God.

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Bishop Gregory Bennet, Bishop of Sale

No doubt the centenary celebrations of St Dominic’s, East Camberwell will be a time of great joy of the many achievements of the Dominican Friars and the faithful people who have called the parish home. The Bennet family has a long association with the parish. I have my own strong memories of going to Mass at the parish as a child and my short time at the primary school. The enduring connection remains through the family business on Maling Road!

Maureen Salter - Parishioner

I and my family always had a wonderful relationship with our Parish Priest, Fr. Kevin Condon, particularly when my two children were growing up.  

 

My husband was not a Catholic but joined and became a close member of the St. Dominic’s community. Fr. Kevin and Sr. Margaret Mary were a strong team that set up many different interest groups, gatherings in people’s homes, in the Parish Centre and elsewhere which gave so many in our Parish opportunities to connect with and be active individuals in the whole Parish.

Fr. Kevin reached out to and encouraged us all to have closer connections to other denominations in our local area. Our Parish was strong, active, inviting and all encompassing. We all felt encouraged to talk about our faith, Fr. Kevin regularly visited all families in our Parish in order to give a deep sense of connection for us all.

I recall on one occasion when Fr. Kevin was going on some sabbatical leave to America for a couple of months, my children responded by saying that we couldn’t go to Mass on Sundays while he was away because he was St. Dominic’s.

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Sr Margaret Fields, OP

I remember, while still at school at St Dominic’s or “Siena”, we would ring the Priory doorbell and ask for one of  the priests -Fr Declan Geraghty, Fr Walter O’Brien, Fr Damian Campbell, Fr Steve McCormack, Fr Greg Butler or Fr Dominic Meese - to invite them to our basketball matches or sporting events, to our concerts, to our parties or to our picnics. They always came to see us in the parkour - and they came t the event to which they were invited! I still marvel t their interest, their concern, and their willingness to be part of our lives.

 

I remember, as a young girl, running home to tell my mother, ‘The priests are coming!’/ In the distance, I had seem two priests, who we would later know well - Fr Eusebius Crawford OP, and Fr Bernard Curran OP, both recently arrived in the Parish from Ireland. This day, they were walking the streets and visiting along the way.

 

Whilst going through my father’s things, following his death in 1998, I discovered a letter he had kept, and obviously treasured - a letter of sympathy written to him by Fr Declan Geraghty on the death of his mother in 1965. This was a small gesture and a kind thought  - one which my father never forgot. I have the letter still.

Helena - Parish Secretary

My first experience of a Catholic Mass was at St Dominic’s when I was around eight years old. The large and boisterous Catholic family who lived next door to me just offered to take me to Mass with them one Sunday.  
 
From the moment we walked into the church and my neighbours geneflucted one by one, I was aware that this was a special place. The Church building itself is beautiful and lends itself to reverence, but it was more than an instinctive recognition of a sacred space; I instantly felt that I belonged here. 
 
As a small child observing what was going on, I remember wondering at all the outward signs of reverence, seeing the parishioners make the Sign of the Cross, seemingly knowing what to say and when to say it, so they all clearly had a shared knowledge and belief...and then everyone knelt in total silence at the Consecration, so something big was going on, for sure, and it made such an impression on me. I knew without a doubt that ‘this was it’ and that I would be a Catholic one day. Such a gift of grace!
 
I visited St Dominic’s every time I was in Melbourne during the nearly twenty years I spent overseas, and now I am actually a parishioner and member of staff here; it is a source of daily delight to me that I am ‘home’.  This Parish is truly blessed to have such a wonderful community of Friars and parishioners.

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John Bostock, Parishioner

Jan and my experience of St Dominics started fifty years ago when the parish was celebrating it’s Half Century. We were to be married but, because I am not a Catholic, we were directed to St Dominics for what they called Instruction. Father F.X. Brown was the priest at the time and we had a few enjoyable sessions with him. Because I went to private Anglican school that viewed other churches non-judgmentally, he didn’t have to tell me too much.

We were living in South Yarra at the time and eventually moved to Middle Park and then more recently ended up in Hawthorn. Janet had a stroke there in 2011 which reduced her to needing a wheelchair. This  made us move again and we found an ideal unit in Camberwell. I then had to find a church that was suitable for Janet in her wheelchair and I checked nearby churches and found St Dominics perfect with the disabled parking and access to the church via the ramp.

In our unit, we have found many occasions when a tradesman was needed and we have used several people and businesses listed on the back of The Dominican.

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Fr Paul Rowse, OP. Parish Priest

Memories of St Dominic’s are easily made because our beautiful church is so distinctive.  The tower alone was once described by Brian Andrews, an expert in Australian architecture, as “a defiant finale to the Gothic Revival in Australia.”  More importantly, the magnificent tower of our church is a message to the people around of their destiny: together we are pointed towards the heaven of unending joy.

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