On the occasion of the centenary of Mascot Parish in 1985 Cardinal Clancy stated that the parish church was the heart of the parish. “Mascot”, he continued, “is a parish that has had a transplant.”. From the following short passages it can be seen how it has had a more varied history than the usual parish.


In April 1885 when Mascot Parish was established it was cut off from Mount Carmel Parish, Waterloo.

The latter parish had built a small stone church, St Bernard, on Botany Road in 1860.

The new parish of St Bernard, Botany Bay, was put in the charge of the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart, who had arrived in Sydney earlier that year, 1885.

Father Louis Couppe, MSC, from Romantin, Paris, France, was the first Parish Priest.   He was later to become Bishop of New Britain in New Guinea.  He is buried in Rabaul.

The Daughters of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart, who had come with the priests from France, began the first Catholic school in the area.


The parish was put in the care of the diocesan clergy and Father Patrick Dowling from Kilkenny city, Ireland, became the first secular parish priest.  The next five parish priests were to be from Ireland also: Fathers Walsh, Teehan, Leen, Crehan, Berkery and O’Sullivan.


North Botany, where the church, school, convent and new presbytery were situated, was renamed Mascot, and the parish became St BernardMascot.


A big church, which had a school on the upper storey, was built to replace the original stone church. The new St Bernard’s vhurch, Mascot, was now the centre of the parish.


The Daceyville area was cut off to form a new parish.


Fr Edward Teehan, of Kilmanagh, Co Kilkenny, Ireland was appointed as Parish Priest.  In the following year he bought land at the corner of Sutherland, Coward and Harris Streets for an ‘out-church’ to service the Rosebery- Eastlakes side of the parish.

The Matraville area was cut off to be placed in the parish of Malabar.


A three room school was built on the corner of Coward and Harris Streets on the land Father had bought.  Sisters came from the St Bernard Mascot convent on weekdays to teach in it.


Fr Teehan arranged with the architect, Clem Glancey, to build an outstanding red brick church, St Therese, on Sutherland Street, in front of the new school.  It was opened by Cardinal Gilroy on the First Sunday of Advent 1940 when the first Mass was said in it.  Father, or his assistant priest, came from the St Bernard presbytery every Sunday morning to say two Masses in it.


The Department of Civil Aviation ordered St Bernard’s Church to be demolished. It was in the way of aircraft taking off from the East-West runway.


A presbytery, school and convent were built on the land alongside where St Therese church and school were placed.  This was now the parish centre and the parish became St Therese Mascot. The heart transplant had taken place. At the same time the Botany area was cut off and made into a new parish, St Bernard’s Botany, with Father Everard as its first Parish Priest.


A Mass in Italian was begun at St Therese each Sunday at 8.00am. It was said by a Scalabrini priest, who came from Albion Street, Surry Hills.


The church was completed to Clem Glancey’s original plan.  A much needed sanctuary, two sacristies and a meeting room were added as a result.


Fr Michael O’Sullivan, from Cobh, Co Cork, Ireland, was appointed parish priest.  He oversaw the school room additions, which were to change the school from the original one stream, into a three stream, with three classes in each grade from kindergarten to sixth.  It was at this time that the changeover from Sisters to lay-teachers began.


The original 3-classroom building, put up in 1939, was changed into a parish hall.  A kitchen was added.


In the International Year of Disabled Persons a ramp was built to give wheelchair access to the church.


The parish Logo was composed in our centenary year 1985.  The original St Bernard’s Church, built in 1860, is pictured on top and St Therese’s Church is pictured in the centre.  We are an airport parish and we are aiming for Heaven.


Fr Patrick O’Carrigan MSC painted the Stations of the Cross which are based on the scriptural list drawn up by the Congregation for Sacred Rites in 1976.


He painted the murals: “Mary of Australia “, “Mary of Sydney”, Therese as a Young Girl ” and “St Therese dropping Roses on Mascot Church”.


The Feast of St Therese was celebrated on the first Sunday of October with an outdoor Mass.  There was only one Mass that weekend – it was held in the Palms playground. This way of celebrating the feastday has continued in subsequent years.


Wolfgang Jansen began making and installing stained glass windows in the church – the ” Five Joyful Mysteries ” on the South side and the ” Five Glorious Mysteries ” on the North side.


Des Jackson composed and installed the first parish web-site.  He has given us a wonderful asset and the parish owes a deep debtof gratitude to him.

The picture of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart was hung in the Shrine of Our Lady in December 2001 as a mark of gratitude for all that the Daughters of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart accomplished in the parish since they first came to it when it was established in 1885.


January 31 – Fr Michael O’Sullivan retired as Parish Priest.

April 2 – Monsignor Lex Johnson appointed Parish Priest .

(Passed away suddenly at St Therese on 11 April 2002).

April – Fr. Martin Monaghan MSCappointed temporary Administrator.

July – Fr. Dominic CeresoliCS appointed Parish Priest.

Scalabrini Fathers who also served the Parish whilst Fr Dominic was Parish Priest:

  • Boy Galdo CS
  • Francis Lovatin CS. (Passed away at St Therese on April 12, 2004).
  • Reinaldo Vassoler CS
  • Hamilton (Casey) Ureta (Associate)
  • Fabio Garcia CS
  • Gesner Felix CS.
  • TizianoMortellozoCS
  • Adrian PittarelloCS


March – Fr Dominic Ceresoli CS retired as Parish Priest.

March – Fr Roger Manalo CS appointed Administrator.


January – Fr Roger Manalo CS appointed Parish Priest.

July 5  –Consecration of the Shrine. Fr Roger cleaned the storeroom beside St Therese’s Chapel and transformed it into the Blessed Virgin Mary Mother of All Nations Shrine.  It houses different Marian Icon/Pictures/Statues and the Relic of Blessed John Baptist Scalabrini, the Founder of the Scalabrini Fathers, whose very special devotion was to the Blessed Mother Mary.

July 29 – Fr. Roger Manalo CS transferred to South Australia.

August 1 – Rev Fr LauroRufo CS appointed Parish Priest.


January – Fr Gesner Felix CS transferred to Tokyo

February – Fr Valentin Mendoza appointed Assistant Parish Priest and Chaplain to Spanish Speaking Community

June 20 – Fr Dominic Ceresoli CS passed away at Marcheno Brescia, Italy.