OUR PEOPLE

Parish Staff

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Fr. Brendan Hogan
Parish Priest

Fr. Brendan was ordained a priest for the Diocese of Sale on March 26, 1999.  He ministered in the parishes of St. Mary’s Bairnsdale, St. Colman’s Orbost and St. Brendan’s Lakes Entrance, and was appointed Parish Priest of Our Lady Help of Christians, Narre Warren on January 19, 2011.

Fr. Brendan was involved in ministry prior to seminary life and priesthood.  Whether visiting the sick, celebrating a wedding or walking with families in grief, he sees God’s love constantly being revealed. He says, “OLHC is the most amazing place to celebrate liturgy. I am constantly moved by the music, prayer, the faith and commitment of parishioners; the way we reach out to each other, greet one another, share our sorrows and joys, and just simply and profoundly celebrate life. This is who we are as a community. In a vibrant community like ours, you cannot help but be inspired to live the gospel with trust that God is at work in us and through us, building the kingdom. I hope that you can join us in our many celebrations. You will not be disappointed.”

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Fr. James Fernandez
Assistant Parish Priest

Fr. James is from the Congregation of the Passion of Jesus Christ. He now assists our parish which is in the Diocese of Sale. He enjoys working in such a varied and vibrant parish.

He says, “My Priestly ordination motto of ‘Passion for God and Compassion for His people’ is what drives me each day and nourishes my soul too. The parish provides me more than enough opportunities to fulfil this goal and work with people who have the same passion in life. Working hand in hand this way, I see God’s hand at work – blessing, healing and bringing meaning to our lives.”

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Suzie Schumacher
Secretary

Suzie was appointed parish secretary in 2000. Since then, she’s been responsible for all aspects of the parish office administration. She co-ordinates and liaises with various parish groups and external organisations on intricate aspects of parish life that involve compliance for working with children, clergy and visitor clearance, insurance, occupational health and safety standards, banking, and the parish stewardship program.

Suzie says, “My role has given me the opportunity to meet and greet parishioners and visitors in times of happiness and in sorrow. It’s a challenging one, but very fulfilling.”

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Conny James
Pastoral Associate

Conny has been a Pastoral Associate since 2004 – 7 years at Holy Saviour Parish Glen Waverley North, and 5 years at OLHC. Prior to this role she taught at Catholic and Government schools as a secondary school teacher and also studied for a Bachelor of Theology.

Conny works with the Parish Priest in a leadership capacity. Her role entails varied responsibilities. She works with the parish Liturgy Committee and the Parish Pastoral Council to plan the parish’s goals and strategies. She is involved in the sacrament preparation of adults in RCIA and children in RCIC. She coordinates volunteers in outreach programs and parish events like the parish feast and the annual Christmas carols program.

Conny says, “I enjoy this role. It’s been such a source of blessing for me. It’s great to be part of our leadership team, working alongside our parish priests, deacon, sacramental coordinator and parish secretaries. Together we work hard to build the life of the parish with our parishioners.”

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Emily D’Sylva
Sacrament Coordinator

Emily liaises with the Parish Priest and the Religious Education Leaders at the parish primary schools, and the Diocesan Sacrament Team in planning, co-ordinating, developing and evaluating the Parish Sacrament Program. OLHC has approximately 600 children who receive their sacraments every year and Emily takes great joy in being involved in the faith journey of the children and their families, providing opportunities to grow in faith and experience a sense of belonging to their parish.

Emily says, “The sacraments make visible the mystery of Christ present in the heart of the church and I have been privileged to be involved with the Parish Sacrament Program since 2005. As the sacrament coordinator of the parish, my role is profoundly satisfying yet very challenging and demanding.  Through the years, it has become very evident to me that when God’s desire and our openness meet, the result is the Grace of God at work in our lives.”

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Cimolina Nigli
Administrative Assistant

Cimolina is the primary point of contact for all parishioners and visitors. She ensures the smooth running of church operations by assisting the clergy and providing secretarial and administrative support. She is the point of contact for all visitors and handles all calls to the parish office. She also assists parishioners with their various enquiries. Cimolina assists the parish staff when there is an overflow of work. She prepares the weekly church bulletin and newsletters, updates the church calendar, and helps members and external groups in booking church facilities.

“My role gives me the opportunity to meet and greet people and foster a sense of welcome and belonging.  I enjoy liaising with families who contact the parish to have their children baptised or for anything else that they require. The past two years in this role has brought great blessings and it’s been a time of learning too,” she says.

Parish Pastoral Council

Parish Councils are one of the structures which were strongly recommended by the Bishops of the Second Vatican Council. The purpose of the councils was seen as furthering the work of the church by fostering the spiritual growth of parishioners and leading them to respond actively to their universal call to mission.

Canute Jacob

Mario Raj

Joe Dannaoui

Sheila Francis

Mini Johny

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Floyd Godinho

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Douglas Rodrigues

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Amalraj Pushparaju

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Lynn Richards

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Julius Samarakoon

Parish Finance Council

This council is comprised of at least 3 members of our community, chosen by the Parish Priest. They are known for their integrity, actively committed to the practice of their faith, financially supporting their parish, and possessing a sound grasp of business affairs and of proven ability.

The council has the following duties:

  • To advise the Parish Priest on financial policies of the parish
  • To present recommendations regarding financial management in the parish
  • To assist in ensuring adequate income for the parish and diocese, and for the support of the clergy and pastoral workers – e.g. through sustained planned giving programs
  • To conduct a review of all parish insurance each year. Every three years they must also conduct a review with the insurance company
  • To prepare an annual budget of income and expenditure for the coming year
  • To examine the financial report at the end of the year
  • To advise parishioners of the financial situation of the parish at least annually by means of an audited financial statement
  • Hold meetings at least four times a year

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Fr Brendan Hogan

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Mark Janke

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Angela Hartin

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David Khoury

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Charles Singh

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Roger Pereira

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Gillian Dirckze

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Tina Baker