The rapidly growing North Lakes and Mango Hill area has become a Catholic parish in its own right.
The new parish has been named St Benedict’s.
Catholic Archdiocese of Brisbane head, Archbishop Mark Coleridge, officially established the new parish at a Mass at Mango Hill on Sunday December 3.
The former priest-in-charge, Fr Bryan Roe, has now become its founding Parish Priest, shepherding a community which has grown from 20 people in 2008 to around 600 today.
The community’s move towards independence evolved naturally after nearly 10 years as a pastoral mission, initially under the care of Petrie parish but since 2010 as part of Redcliffe City parish.
With a current population of 60,000, of which 13,000 nominated as Catholic at the last census, the move is seen as both smart and forward-thinking.
Brisbane Catholic Education already operates the P-12 St Benedict’s campuses on Anzac Ave with a cohort of 1156 students. By 2031, the population of the region is expected to increase by 40 per cent.
Speaking ahead of the official announcement, Archbishop Coleridge said he was pleased the Church had a foothold in another of the many growth corridors of Queensland’s south-east corner.
“It’s a privilege to be witness to what is the continued growth of our mission in this part of Queensland,” Archbishop Coleridge said.
“Certainly the expansion of new regions like North Lakes and Mango Hill signify the economy is powering ahead, but with it also comes the need for pastoral care of families and individuals.
“Thankfully the Church, through its sacramental and educational work, and its social services, can add to the sense of community building within these new areas.”
Whilst awaiting official approval, the Catholic community has energetically gone about its work using a chapel space within St Benedict’s Primary School Hall.
In the past 12 months a second Sunday Mass has been added and more than 230 children have received the sacraments of baptism, First Holy Communion or Confirmation.
Fr Roe said, “We have such a beautiful welcoming community here at St Benedict’s. We are so excited about becoming a parish. It gives us a presence here. It gives us the opportunity to proactively care for the spiritual, pastoral and social needs of this rapidly growing area.”
“Our community is so welcoming. Everyone who comes and celebrates with us always comments about how vibrant and inclusive we are. We have a rich diversity of cultures in our community, and we also have many active members of our community who aren’t even Catholic. So, all races, creeds and peoples are most welcome to join us!” he said.
Mass services, which are celebrated on Sundays at 9:30am and 5:30pm, are expected to continue for some time on the school campus until fundraising can allow for a permanent church building.
If recent history is a guide, this could take several years. The Springfield parish was established south west of Brisbane in 2011 and only moved into its new church this past September.