Fr. Brendan Hogan
Fr. Brendan was ordained a priest for the Diocese of Sale on March 26, 1999. He ministered in the parishes of St. Mary’s Bairnsdale, St. Colman’s Orbost and St. Brendan’s Lakes Entrance, and was appointed Parish Priest of Our Lady Help of Christians, Narre Warren on January 19, 2011.
Fr. Brendan was involved in ministry prior to seminary life and priesthood. Whether visiting the sick, celebrating a wedding or walking with families in grief, he sees God’s love constantly being revealed. He says, “OLHC is the most amazing place to celebrate liturgy. I am constantly moved by the music, prayer, the faith and commitment of parishioners; the way we reach out to each other, greet one another, share our sorrows and joys, and just simply and profoundly celebrate life. This is who we are as a community. In a vibrant community like ours, you cannot help but be inspired to live the gospel with trust that God is at work in us and through us, building the kingdom. I hope that you can join us in our many celebrations. You will not be disappointed.”
Fr. Isuru Weliwatte
Fr. Isuru Weliwatte began his Priestly Ministry at Our Lady Help of Christians Parish in May 2019. He is a proud Sri Lankan-Australian. He migrated to Melbourne in 2003 to do a Commerce Degree at Deakin University Burwood. After graduation, he responded to the call of Priesthood and joined the Missionaries of God’s Love in 2008. He was ordained at St. Dominic’s Camberwell in 2015. He has lived in Melbourne, Canberra, Sydney and Darwin. He is also doing a Master of Counselling part-time through the Australian Institute of Professional Counsellors. Fr. Isuru says “I am very blessed to be part of Our Lady Help of Christians Parish and I am looking forward to growing and spreading the Love of God with our vibrant Parish Community.”
Secretary / Safeguarding Officer
Suzie was appointed parish secretary in 2000. Since then, she’s been responsible for all aspects of the administration side of parish life along with a newly created role of safeguarding officer responsible for ensuring proper safeguarding of children and vulnerable adults policies and procedures are adhered to within the Parish.
Suzie says, “My role has given me the opportunity to meet and greet parishioners and visitors in times of happiness and in sorrow. It’s a challenging one, but very fulfilling.”
Emily has been part of this Parish community since 2004 and volunteered on the Sacrament program team. She was employed as the Sacrament coordinator of the parish in 2007 and served in this ministry up until 2018 and enjoyed being involved in the faith journey of children and their families over the years. In January 2018, she was appointed as the Pastoral Associate of the parish and has found the role profoundly satisfying.
Emily says, “A pastoral worker is an “enabler” of pastoral care within the parish and beyond. Whether it involves communion to the sick or visiting an elderly parishioner, or the encounters around preparing adults for their Sacraments of initiation, being a pastoral associate is a vocation that simply challenges you to be there with people in times of need. It requires you to be deeply attentive to the pastoral and spiritual care of fellow parishioners, to provide prayerful and active support to the clergy in the parish and to the various lay ministries within the parish. Above all, being a pastoral associate as a whole is an invitation to a journey which transforms you from within and brings with it, many blessings and enough challenges to keep you humble but yet strong.”
Vimi joined the parish as the Sacrament Coordinator in 2019. She is involved in driving the parish Sacrament Program. She liaises with the parish priest and the REL’s of the primary school in smooth running of the Sacrament program.
Vimi says, “I find great joy in helping children and their families in their journey of faith. I enjoy liaising with the REL’s, families and children during the program. My role is very challenging and at the same time brings in immense happiness and joy.”
Cimolina is the primary point of contact for all parishioners and visitors. She ensures the smooth running of church operations by assisting the clergy and providing secretarial and administrative support. She is the point of contact for all visitors and handles all calls to the parish office. She also assists parishioners with their various enquiries. Cimolina assists the parish staff when there is an overflow of work. She prepares the weekly church bulletin and newsletters, updates the church calendar, and helps members and external groups in booking church facilities.
“My role gives me the opportunity to meet and greet people and foster a sense of welcome and belonging. I enjoy liaising with families who contact the parish to have their children baptised or for anything else that they require. The past four years in this role has brought great blessings and it’s been a time of learning too,” she says.
Youth Minister / IT&Media Support
Hanson is one of the Youth Ministers at the Parish along with Gloria, who takes care of all the youth involvement in the Parish. Hanson, along with Gloria, runs the weekly gathering of the youth groups at the Parish, planning each week’s topics to be explored with the youth, to assist in their spiritual growth and to strengthen the community bond among the young of the Parish. Hanson very much enjoys his work at the Parish and says “I strive to get the youngsters active in their faith and help them build the foundations of their faith, so that they may be able to face the challenges of being a Christian in this modern age, and go on to be a light to the world”. Hanson also helps with the IT and media aspects of the Parish and the office.
Parish Pastoral Council
Parish Councils are one of the structures which were strongly recommended by the Bishops of the Second Vatican Council. The purpose of the councils was seen as furthering the work of the church by fostering the spiritual growth of parishioners and leading them to respond actively to their universal call to mission.
Parish Finance Council
This council is comprised of at least 3 members of our community, chosen by the Parish Priest. They are known for their integrity, actively committed to the practice of their faith, financially supporting their parish, and possessing a sound grasp of business affairs and of proven ability.
The council has the following duties:
- To advise the Parish Priest on financial policies of the parish
- To present recommendations regarding financial management in the parish
- To assist in ensuring adequate income for the parish and diocese, and for the support of the clergy and pastoral workers – e.g. through sustained planned giving programs
- To conduct a review of all parish insurance each year. Every three years they must also conduct a review with the insurance company
- To prepare an annual budget of income and expenditure for the coming year
- To examine the financial report at the end of the year
- To advise parishioners of the financial situation of the parish at least annually by means of an audited financial statement
- Hold meetings at least four times a year
Fr Brendan Hogan