Parishioner Gary Payne detailed the varied and interesting history of this parish in his history of Quakers Hill-Schofields Parish in 1919-1993. The first recorded mention of Quakers Hill was in June 1789 when Captain Watkin Tench stood on ‘The Quakers Hill’ and ‘from there has a clear view of Prospect Hill’.
It was from the parish of Blacktown-Prospect that the Parish Priest, Rev. John Moriarty, came at the request of Catholic families to celebrate the first Mass in June 1919 at a home in 16 Ramona Street, and a parishioner, Thelma Harbrow, remembers that he often walked from Blacktown to Quakers Hill. In 1919 a significant event took place when Catholic families held a meeting to discuss the needs of the group. Known as the ‘Meeting on the Log’, a photograph of these pioneers sitting on a log on a block of land bordered by Montrose, Highfield and Pentland Streets where the first church was built, has pride of place in the new church on Barnier Drive.
In 1972, Archbishop James Freeman separated Schofields from Riverstone parish and linked it with Quakers Hill. On January 1, 1973, Rev. Bert Callose became its first Parish Priest.
A priority was the renovation of the 1922 building which had served as the church for the growing population. In 1987, Sr Edith Angel, a Parramatta Sister of Mercy, was appointed as Pastroal Associate. Later Deacon Robert Carroll and Rev. John Smith from England joined the parish team.
In February 1994, Rev Callose retired and his place taken by Rev. George O’Mara who had assumed the task of involvement with and commitment to, the building of a much needed presbytery, the completion of stage three of the parish school, the construction of the new Catholic high school, Terra Sancta College in Hambledon Road and the commencement of a second primary school to be opened in 1997.
Sr Edith Angel RSM, retired in the early 1990s. Rev. Walter Fogarty arrived as a deacon and was later ordained to the priesthood, remaining in Mary Immaculate Parish until the end of 2002. Rev. Ian McGinnity became parish priest in April 2001. Sr Helen Law RSM was appointed Pastoral Associate in February 2003. Deacon Robert Carroll returned to the parish in April 2004.
During 2004, there were a number of ‘new’ parish Adult Education programmes initiated and a Youth team set up.St. Joseph’s Church, Schofields was upgraded and renovated during 2004. The Parish Team, together with a number of parishioners spent some time discerning needs for the next ten years.
In August 2005, the Melkite Community of St. Mary’s moved their worshipping to St. Joseph’s Church, Schofields.
In January 2006, Sr Helen Law departed the parish. Fr Joe Thomas joined as Assistant Priest in February. In April, Mr Jim Eves was appointed as part-time Pastoral Associate. Deacon Robert Carroll rretired from active ministry at the end of November. During the latter part of 2006, renovations of the Parish Office took place as well as the addition of an all weather shade-cloth in the Church forecourt.
In August 2007, Fr Joseph Thomas celebrated his silver jubilee of his ordination and Fr Ian renewed his role as Parish Priest for another six years.
One month later Mary Immaculate Parish was blessed with the arrival of another priest, Fr Mathew Antony, a La Salette Missionary. The good fortune of three priests in the Parish was short-lived when Fr Joe was asked to become the new administrator of another parish in Harris Park.
In 2008, Mary Immaculate Parish joined in the celebrations of World Youth Day and the arrival of his Holiness Pope Benedict XVI in July.
Mary Immaculate Primary was chosen to attend a reception at Government House for the Pope. This was a special occasion shared by the school’s Principal, two teachers and our Pastoral Associate, Jim Eves, as well as the students.
The parish continues to grow and endeavours to meet the needs of an expanding multi-cultural community.