Our Lady of the Way Parish Emu Plains




Our Lady of the Way Parish as it has evolved 

  • Emu Plains residents attended Mass and the Sacraments in Penrith.
  • Fr. Grady, Parish Priest of Penrith, commenced weekend Masses in Melrose Hall.


  • Bishop Kelly suggested Emu Plains should have its own priest and church. Fr. Grady disagreed; he believed Emu Plains should be serviced as part of Penrith Parish.
  • Cardinal Freeman asked Fr Kevin Hannan to be the first Parish Priest of Emu Plains.



  • Fr Hannan arrived in January to establish the parish of Our Lady of the Way Emu Plains. Church property consisted of virgin land (area from northern wall of Parish Hall to Forbes Street) granted to Catholic Church in 1863, originally to be a cemetery.
  • As there was no accommodation within the parish, over the next 18 months Father had to reside first at the Log Cabin Motor Inn, then at Blacktown, and then in a borrowed house in Glenbrook.
  • Weekend  Masses were said in Melrose Hall, weekday Masses in parishioners’ homes.
  • The first baptisms of the new parish took place at St. Nicholas’, Penrith.
  • Catechists commenced teaching in local State Schools.
  • Co-Ordinating Committee (later Parish Council) was formed.
  • Fr Hannan became Chaplain to Emu Plains Prison Farm inmates and remained as Chaplain until 1994.



  • 17 Troy Street (now mostly “back” car park) acquired.  One small building on this property was converted into a Chapel known as the “Cathedral”.
  • The first baptism on parish grounds took place in the “Cathedral” on 4th October.
  • Youth Group commenced operations and continued until 1985.
  • The brick garage erected, the first building constructed by the new parish.



  • 15 Troy Street acquired for use as the presbytery (now Parish Office).
  • Church/Hall (now Parish Hall) built using 22,000 sand-stock bricks redeemed from Blacktown where the church was being demolished.  All the bricks had to be collected and cleaned by parishioners before they could be used.  Some of the bricks were painted;  this paint can still be seen on the bricks.
  • Acolytes assist with Liturgy.



  • Parishioners organised to be appointed to School Councils at St. Columba’s and Caroline Chisholm to help ensure children from OLOTW had a path to Catholic High School education.
  • Parishioners organised to become involved in Housie run by the  Police Boys Club (now Police Citizens Youth Club) in Penrith.



  • Sr Colleen Keeble appointed as Pastoral Assistant and remained until 1981.



  • Stage 1 of OLOTW Primary School (current administration, amenities, library, and Year 2 classrooms) opened.  


  • 19 Troy Street (area at back of Parish Hall) acquired, including a dwelling known as the “Cottage”.  This building was used at different times as classrooms, school canteen and a meeting place. It was demolished in 1996 and the area is now school playground.





  • Fr Hannan involved in the purchase of land and planning for what became McCarthy Catholic Senior High School (now McCarthy Catholic College).
  • Section of Mackay Street, which separated 17 and 19 Troy Street, acquired. This section of Mackay Street is now partly Stage 2 of the School and partly “back” car park with 3 metres along the fence line reserved as a pedestrian “right of way”.



  • Stage 2 of OLOTW Primary School (two storey building) opened.



  • Parish Council formed comprising elected parishioners representing the different functional groups of the parish.



  • Stage 3 of OLOTW Primary School (current Year 1 and kindergarten classrooms) opened.
  • McCarthy Catholic Senior High School commenced classes.  Father Hannan co-ordinated 8 parishes and helped manage the establishment and building of McCarthy through to its completion in 1989.
  • Student Priest, Tony Abbott, arrived for “work experience” with Fr Hannan and remained until 1986.
  • Parish progresses from assisting with Housie to managing and promoting Housie in parish name, operating from Penrith Police Citizen’s Youth Club Hall.



  • Monthly children’s liturgy commenced.
  • Fr Hannan is appointed as the inaugural Vicar General upon the establishment of Parramatta Diocese, and in that capacity served on the board of the Catholic Education Office and the Bishop’s College of Counsellors. Fr. Hannan served as Vicar General until June 1991.



  • Sr. Sue Smith appointed as Pastoral Assistant and remained until 1995.
  • RCIA Program commenced.
  • Ministers of the Eucharist assist with Communion and deliver the Eucharist to home-bound parishioners.



  • Fr Hannan helped establish and was appointed as the inaugural Chairman of the Diocesan Development Fund and remained Chairman until March 1997.  During this time the DDF has returned over $3 million for use by the Diocese for its works.
  • Natural Family Planning Centre commenced operations from parish premises.



  • Parent based Sacramental Program commenced.
  • Renew Program commenced within Parish and continued until its completion in 1991.



  • Female Altar Servers introduced.



Special Education room , known as “Green Gables”, purchased and the covered walkway constructed.

Rear carpark extended and sealed. 



  • Lenten Program commenced.
  • Storeroom added to Stage 3 of Our Lady of the Way School.



  • OLOTW Church opened in May 1993 and the Church/Hall becomes Parish Hall.
  • Youth Group re-commenced.
  • Parish Library opened.
  • St. Vincent de Paul Society is re-established in the parish.
  • St. Columba’s becomes Year 7-12 school with first intake of Year 11 students.



  • The rear half of 13 Troy Street leased for use as school playground.



  • 13 Troy Street acquired for use as the Presbytery and 15 Troy Street becomes the Parish Office.
  • After extensive discussion within the parish, the Parish Pastoral Council, comprising elected and nominated members of the parish, commenced.



  • Fr Hannan retires as Scripture Teacher from Nepean High School after 23 years.
  • Fr Hannan retires as Parish Priest from OLOTW Parish after 23 years.
  • Fr. Paul Roberts acts as Parish Administrator from March to June.
  • Fr. Geoff Dickinson is appointed Parish Priest of Our Lady of the Way Parish.
  • CEO takes over the control and funding for Diocesan Schools from parishes.



  • Parish office is gutted and rebuilt as functional office and meeting rooms.
  • Sr. Maria Welch appointed as Pastoral Assistant.
  • Family Ministry commences.
  • Parishioner-based Baptism Preparation Program commences.



  • Caroline Chisholm and St. Dominic’s College become Year 7-12 Schools and McCarthy Senior High School becomes McCarthy Catholic College for Years 7-12 with the first intake of Year 7 students.
  • Our Lady of the Way Parish celebrates its 25th Anniversary.



  • Sr Maria leaves to go to Brisbane and Mrs Kay Walker appointed as Parish Pastoral Associate.



  • Mrs Kay Walker resigns
  • Fr. Geoff Dickinson retires as parish priest of OLOW and goes into semi-retirement as assistant pastor at Greystanes.
  • Fr. Christopher Sharah arrives as administrator – leaves January 2004



  • Fr Robert Anderson appointed as Parish Priest – begins in January 2004