A Brief History of the Parish

For much of the 20th century, the Menai District was part of the Sutherland Parish and the closest Mass services were held at St Patrick's Church at Sutherland. After it became a parish in its own right, Masses were held in various venues including the Bangor Library and the Bangor Primary School Hall. By the 1970s the area was growing rapidly and the number of Catholics in the district determined that we needed our own infrastructure of a Church and schools. Father Denis Foley was appointed in 1986 as Parish Priest, with the task of developing the parish to cater for this tremendous growth.

The first building erected on the current complex was a multi purpose hall, which allowed Mass to be celebrated in larger premises to cater for the growing number of Catholics in the area. But money was in very short supply. In those days, Fr Denis was living at the presbytery in Sutherland and was travelling to his duties at Menai. A presbytery was subsequently built at Menai, which allowed Fr Denis to become our first resident Parish Priest.

Two major challenges then faced the parish. Firstly, to develop a school infrastructure to cater for the growing number of Catholic children in what was becoming one of the fastest growing residential areas in Sydney, and secondly to build a Church. This was achieved with financial support from the Archdiocese, the Catholic Education Office and the Federal and State Governments. After much work, negotiating and lobbying, in due course the Holy Family Primary School was opened in August 1989. The Holy Family Parish Church was then built and was opened by Cardinal Clancy in May 1991, and later Aquinas College was opened in May 1993. The ongoing financial support for the Parish and Schools infrastructure comes from parishioner contributions and the Catholic Education Office.

Fr Denis Foley left Menai in January 1999 to become the Parish Priest at Belmore. He was replaced by our current Parish Priest, Fr Phil Zadro, who continues to support and direct the spiritual and physical growth of the parish. Our parish now has all of the resources and direction to be very optimistic about the future.