On 18 February 1954, Archbishop Prendiville appointed Fr C.P. Finn S.J., a Jesuit priest, as chaplain to Santa Maria College, which was conducted by the Sisters of Mercy. From the College, Fr Finn also said Mass in the new parish of Attadale in the Attadale State School. When the congregation began to increase, tenders were called for the construction of a school -cum-church building, and work began in November 1954. At the beginning of 1955, Fr Finn was succeeded by Fr Leo Flynn, S.J., and the school opened in a temporary hut at Point Walter under the care of the Sisters of Mercy.
On the 27 March 1955, the school building was opened and blessed by Archbishop Prendiville, under the title of St Joseph Pignatelli, an eighteenth-century Jesuit priest who had been canonised the previous year. At the Mass Archbishop Prendiville remarked on the simple design of the church and said that he looked forward to returning when a cathedral was constructed!
On the 18 April the fifty enrolled children moved into the new school building, among them many immigrants who were being accommodated at Point Walter.
The Jesuit Fathers owned a large tract of land in Attadale, bought with the intention of building a boys’ college adjacent to the parish property. However, due to a decline in the number of Jesuits in Australia, this proposal was abandoned in 1961, and the land subsequently sold and sub-divided into building blocks. Campion Crescent and Loyola Way attest to the Jesuit presence in the area.
Stacks Image 29On 9 December 1962, the present church was blessed by Archbishop Prendiville. It was intended to be a temporary church until such time as a permanent building could be erected on a grander scale. It was then to become a parish hall. However, as things subsequently turned out, the “temporary” church remained in use for over fifty years and was embellished with a Lady Chapel and bell tower in 1988, and an atrium in 1996.
In June 1965 a house was purchased opposite to the church as a residence tor the parish priest. Fr Flynn left in January, and he was succeeded by Fr Patrick Tracey, S.J. Work began that year on the parish social centre near Wichmann Road, now called the Bourhill Parish Centre to commemorate Crawford Bourhill who did much of the construction work on the centre.
On the 24 January 1965, four bitumen tennis courts were opened on parish property. In June of that year a house was purchased opposite to the church as a residence tor the parish priest. Fr Flynn left in January, and he was succeeded by Fr Patrick Tracey, S.J. Work began that year on the parish social centre near Wichmann Road, now called the Bourhill Parish Centre in commemoration of Crawford Bourhill.
In 1974, with the departure of Fr Tracey, the care of the parish was resumed by the diocesan clergy, and Fr Dan Foley was appointed parish priest by Archbishop L.J. Goody. In April 1979, a new presbytery was built behind the church, the former house having been sold.
In 1985, Fr Tim Foster was appointed parish priest and he held the position for the next ten years.
Fr Foster was succeeded in April 1995 by Fr Geoff Beyer, a married, former-Anglican priest. Fr Beyer oversaw the aforementioned addition of the foyer as well as extensions to the church and sacristy including the construction of an office. Fr Beyer retired in 2006 from the parish and full-time ministry.
Archbishop Barry James Hickey appointed Fr Sean Fernandez as parish priest in 2006 and Fr Sean was formally installed by the auxiliary bishop, the Most Rev. Donald Sproxton.
The Bourhill Parish Hall was refurbished in 2008 and fitted with evaporative air-conditioning. It was re-opened by Barbara Bourhill and Sinead Smithies.
A long-time parishioner, Douglas King, left a generous bequest to the parish in memory of his late wife, Beulah King; the money was given with the proviso that it only be used in the construction of a new church. The parish pastoral council and parish finance committee, with the support of parishioners who attended a meeting to discuss the issue, voted to proceed with a new church in 2009.
The new church is at the Wichmann Road end of the parish property. The parish tennis club relocated from the site on 30 November 2016, maintaining its connection with the parish and making use of other facilities.
At the beginning of November 2016 the Archbishop of Perth, the Most Rev. Timothy Costelloe SDB, signed the application for the building permit. On the weekend of 12/13 November 2016 – during the parish celebrations of the Solemnity of St Joseph Pignatelli – it was announced that a builder had been chosen, McCorkell Constructions.
On 19 December 2016 the building permit for the new church was issued by the City of Melville. At the same time the clearing of the tennis courts was completed and the land made ready for construction to commence.
On 9 January 2017 the builder took possession of the site and construction commenced on the new church of St Joseph Pignatelli.
On 19 March after celebrating the 9am Mass, Bishop Sproxton blessed the new church site.
The new church was dedicated by Archbishop Costelloe on 13 May 2018, the Solemnity of the Ascension of the Lord. During the Mass, the altar stone from the old church was placed in the new altar.
The church dedication marks the beginning of a new chapter in the story of the Attadale Parish.
New Parish Priest
Fr Don Kettle succeeded Fr Sean as parish priest of Attadale on 25 July 2018.