HISTORY OF ST MARY’S PARISH CONCORD
The following dates recall some of the significant events in the history of the St Mary’s Parish.
1844 – present parish site acquired for church and school.
1845 – June: Archbishop Polding blessed the foundation stone for the first church. It was located near Parramatta Road in the present Church Forecourt and in front of the present hall.
1845 – 7 December: First church opened. Priests came from Parramatta each Sunday.
1851 – Concord became part of Petersham (now Lewisham) Parish.
1870 – Concord became a parish with Father Callaghan McCarthy appointed as the first parish priest.
1873 – 6 July: The foundation stone for the second church was blessed. Its entrance was facing the present church and was located near the Tower
1874 – 14 September: Archbishop Polding opened the second Church dedicated to Mary, Mother of God. The first church continued to be used as a school/hall.
1880 – Sisters of Charity travel from Ashfield to teach at Concord.
1881 – Corner stone of the presbytery (priests’ residence) facing Burton Street was laid by Fr McCarthy (present site of St Mary’s Villa).
1883 – Sisters of Charity community at Concord.
1890 – 7 June: extensions to the second church blessed by Cardinal Patrick Moran, the Archbishop of Sydney.
1894 – 1 November: Fr McCarthy died after being injured in a train crash at Redfern.
1894 – 2 December Cardinal Moran blessed the Foundation Stone for a new school building that was located near the present “grass area” in the school playground. The Foundation Stone is now located to the left of the main entrance to the church.
1898 – 3 May: The Convent opened; built with funds from the estate of Fr McCarthy, it stood near the corner of Parramatta Road and Broughton St. It was demolished to make way for the present St Mary’s Villa. The Foundation Stone is in the garden on the Villa side of the Church Forecourt.
1917 – the first church, which had been converted into a hall and school, was demolished to make way for a new girls’school and hall (present hall with classrooms above).
1928 – Laying of the foundation stone for the third (present) church by the Apostolic Delegate, Rev. Dr. Cattaneo.
1928 – Christmas Day: first Mass in present church celebrated at midnight.
1929 – 17 March: present church blessed by Archbishop Michael Kelly, Archbishop of Sydney.
1940 – New kindergarten classrooms facing on Burton Street (present school administration building).
1940 – The walls of the sanctuary of the church were lined in Wombeyan marble.
1956 – The second church was demolished to make way for a new Girls’ Intermediate School building which was located near the present Bell Tower.
1963 – House at 2 Ada Street was purchased for extra classrooms. It was later demolished to create playground space and is now the site of classrooms for Years 5 & 6.
1963 – Bishop James Freeman (Auxiliary Bishop of Sydney) transferred from Stanmore Parish and appointed Parish Priest with Fr William Delaney as Administrator.
1964 – Temporary timber classrooms opened which later became the school library (present school library site).
1966 – Annex added to the western side of parish hall; a Scout Hall was built on western the side of 1894 school building.
1968 – 1 March: modifications made to the sanctuary of the church and the dedication of a new altar facing the people.
1969 – Bishop Freeman appointed Bishop of Armidale and Bishop Edward Kelly appointed Parish Priest.
1970 – April: Parish Centenary celebrations.
1972 – 3 April: hall and classrooms (1917 building) destroyed by fire.
1972 – 3 September: New Classroom block blessed and opened by Archbishop James Freeman over the foundations of the 1894 school building (the 1972 classroom block demolished in 2011 – present grass area).
1973 – New hall with classrooms above opened and blessed by Bishop Kelly.
1975 – 23 March: Community Centre at 38 Burton Street opened by Bishop Kelly. The site was later developed for St Mary’s Villa Hostel and Nursing Home.
1977 – Bishop Kelly appointed Bishop of Toowoomba and Bishop Patrick Murphy appointed Parish Priest.
1980 – 24 February: four new classrooms opened as a first floor addition to the 1940 kindergarten building on Burton Street.
1983 – Sisters of Charity leave St Mary’s Convent. The convent building used by the parish.
1984 – Bishop Murphy leaves Concord and Fr William Delaney appointed parish priest.
1985 – 7 July: St Mary’s Villa Hostel and Nursing Home (38 Burton Street) blessed by Archbishop Clancy and opened by Prime Minister Robert Hawke.
1988 – Christian Brothers’ Primary School closed. The school for boys in years 5 & 6 had shared the parish site with St Mary’s School.
1993 – January Fr Delaney retired and Fr Paul Crowley appointed parish priest.
1993 – 28 January: fire extensively damaged the roof, ceiling and the interior of the church – Sunday Masses were celebrated in the hall and weekday Masses in the former Convent.
1994 – 28 May: 6 pm Vigil Mass, the first Mass celebrated in the renovated church.
1994 – 31 July: Dedication of the St Mary’s Church by Cardinal Edward Clancy, Archbishop of Sydney.
1994 – Parish office relocated to a house at 4 Ada Street.
1994 – December: Sr. Monette Mason RSC (Principal 1985-1994) retired marking the end of 112 years of the involvement of the Sisters of Charity in St Mary’s School.
2000 – Major refurbishment project for St Mary’s School begins.
2002 – 5 May: Blessing and Opening of new and refurbished buildings for St Mary’s School by Archbishop George Pell.
2002 – Priest’s residence relocated to house at 6 Ada Street.
2007 – 13 November: Blessing and Opening of new Years 5-6 classroom block St Mary’s School by Bishop Julian Porteous on the site of the original cottage at 2 Ada Street.
2008 – Presbytery, Convent and 1956 School building (foundation stone in the garden near the Bell Tower at side of the church) demolished to make way for the new St Mary’s Villa.
2008 – July: Parish hosts Italian pilgrims for World Youth Day; Fr William Delaney died.
2009 – Christian Brothers’ College Burwood celebrates its centenary and in December is closed.
2010 – Southern Cross Catholic Vocation College is founded on the CBC Burwood site.
2010 – 20 June: a new building for St Mary’s Villa opened and blessed by Cardinal Pell, Archbishop of Sydney, on the parish site next to the church (the site of the former Presbytery, Convent and 1956 School – all demolished in 2008).
2011 – New classroom building completed for Kindergarten and Yr 3 (Federal Government Building the Education Revolution Project); the demolition of the 1972 classroom block to create the “grass area”.
2012 – Refurbishment of the Parish Hall and creation of new Out of School Hours Care facility in the hall annex.
2013 – June to August: major refurbishment of St Mary’s Church.
2018 – 25th anniversary of Fr Paul Crowley as parish priest
2020 – St Mary’s Parish celebrates its 150th Anniversary.
St Mary’s Parish History continues…