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Our Parish Story


Earliest History

These lands that the parish has were once the lands of the Bunurong People, part of the Kulin Nation.  We acknowledge their ancestors and commit ourselves to respectfully use this land that God has given us.

Parish History

Long before the suburb of Endeavour Hills was established, these lands were settled and developed by European farmers.  These lands were used for grazing and milk production.

The people in this district were members of the Rural Parish of Dandenong and remained so from 1883-1979, although some people attended Mass at the newly established parishes at St Gerard’s North Dandenong (1956) and Holy Family Doveton (1962).  In many ways, these four parishes have seen many of the people of Endeavour Hills come through their doors over the years. Changing parish boundaries doe not change parish allegiances all that quickly.

From 1976, a regular Mass was celebrated on a Sunday in the Endeavour Hills area by a priest from St Mary’s Dandenong.  In January 1980, St Paul Apostle Parish was established, with Fr Frank Martin as the first parish priest.  Frank had just retired as Director of Catholic Education.  The first Parish Mass was celebrated in a temporary Church from February.  The permanent church was opened in August 1983.  Frank Martin continued his ministry here until 1986.

Some of our key moments have been:

1976: September 5: Weekly Sunday Mass celebrated in the Sub-division Office, now Joseph Banks Medical Centre.

1977: Sunday Mass celebrated in the Homestead, now Essex Park Community Centre.

1980-1986: Fr Frank Martin serves as parish priest.

1980: July 27: Bishop Kelly blesses the First Church, a portable building.

1981: January: St Paul Apostle South School began in January 1981.  Arrival of Srs Joan Kennedy PBVM, Principal, and Sr Maria Lazarro PBVM to start our schools.

1981: First Parish Ball and Parish Fair held.

1983: August 14: the present Church and Hall were blessed and opened by Archbishop Frank Little. 

1985: January:  St Paul Apostle North School began.

1985: First public Way of the Cross

·  Men’s Club started

·  First Parish Wine Bottling

·  Renew, RCIA & Liturgy Committee Began

·  Sr Ann Halpin PBVM joins the Parish.  She later started Wellsprings for Women at Dandenong.

Children’s Liturgy of the Word starts

1987: Fr Gerry McKernan serves as parish priest

1990:   April 29: Tenth Anniversary Mass with Archbishop Little

1992:   Nov. 8: Parish Vision Statement launched

1998: Fr Gerry McKernan transfers to Holy Saviour Nth Glen Waverley as parish priest.

1998: January: Fr Terry Kean arrives to serve as parish administrator

1998: June 30: Fr Terry Kean transfers to Sacred Heart West St Kilda as parish priest.

1988: July 1: The Passionists assume pastoral responsibility for the parish.  Fr John Pearce CP serves as parish priest, with Fr Tim O’Toole CP as assistant priest and Community Superior.  Fr Ray Sanchez CP is a community members working as a school chaplain and leading Parish Missions.

1998: Men’s Club renovates the Annexe, removing small rooms to make it more usable for the community.

1998: Bernadette Doyle completes her term as pastoral associate and returns to teaching ministry.

1999-2001: Margaret Carmen works as pastoral associate

1999: July: Seniors Club begins.

1999: Women Wisdom & Wine began.

2000: Nov 30: Fr Tim O’Toole CP transfers to Templestowe.  Fr Ray Sanchez CP transfers to Oxley, Qld.

2000: Dec 1: Fr Chris Monaghan CP arrives from Templestowe as Community Leader and Assistant Priest. He also teaches Scripture at YTU.  Fr Brian Gleeson CP arrives from Glen Osmond SA. His ministry is teaching theology at YTU and parish supplies. Fr Dunstan Mellors CP arrives from Templestowe.  He is retired and assists wit some Masses.

2001: February 3: Martin Place was dedicated and opened by members of the community as a place for gathering and contemplation following a Mass led by retired Archbishop Frank Little.  This was done so at the time of the Parish 21st Birthday celebrations. 

2002: Parish Centre renovated, creating more office space and meeting rooms.

2002: CanCare Cancer Support Group began

2002: Craft Group began

2002: November to December 2005, Rhonda O’Connor works as Pastoral Associate

2002: November to April 2006, Karen Rolfe works as Pastoral Associates.

2005: January 30: Parish 25th Anniversary celebrated without fanfare.  Preparations under way to Vacate the Church for the refurbishment.

2005: February: YCS group started.

2005: March - October: The Church is closed for refurbishment, with Mass celebrated in the North School Gym.

2005: April: Fr Tim O’Toole arrives from Bourke NSW as assistant priest.  Fr Chris takes on more teaching.

2005: Youth Music Group Started

2005: October 1: Return to Church with first mass led by retired Archbishop Frank Little.

2005: November 11: Memorial Garden Opened.

2006: April 10: Garden of Peace established.

2006: July 20: 25 years of Catholic Education celebrated at a combined schools Mass with Archbishop Denis Hart leading us.

2007: The Sisters of the Cross and Passion joined the Parish. Sr Joan Smith arrived in November and Sr Patricia McCabe in February 2008 for 10 months.

2008  The Parish hosted Passionist Youth Encounter when youth from Passionist parishes overseas who came for World Youth Day were hosted by families in the Parish for some days prior to going to Sydney.

2009 Fr John Pearce finished his term as Parish Priest in and left in January.

2009  Fr Tim O’Toole was appointed Parish Priest and took on his role in February.

2009  Sr Brigid Murphy CP joined the Sisters’ Community and the Parish Team 


2010  In February a group from the Parish went to PNG for the ordination to the Priesthood of John Auram.
2010  The Parish celebrated 30 years with a celebration for the Year of the Priest    when the Parish Pastoral Council invited all the priests who served in the Parish to participate and presented each of them with a gift.

2010    Sr Anne Cunningham joined the Sisters in community in September.


2010  Our long time sectrary Bev Cresswell died suddenly in October 2010. Bev had been part of our Parish team for 18 years. Not only was Bev one of our long time parish secretaries but was also Sacrament co-ordinator and with a few others began Cancare. Bev is sadly missed by the parish team and by the parishioners.

2010We closed the events of the year with Christmas in Many Lands which was a great celebration of the cultural diversity and talent of our parishioners.

2011  The year began with the promotion of a new project supported by the Parish Pastoral council and the Passionist Companions. The project aims to help a dozen young people in Passionist Parish in Port Moresby through School fees and uniforms. These are children who would have missed out on finishing their education. The Parish group of Passionist Companions had their Passionist Pilgrimage.

2016, May 7th, We farewelled Fr Tim who has been assigned to Sydney and Fr Tony to Adelaide. We welcome Fr Xavier & Fr Jose into our parish. The Passionist Companion also made another pilgrimage early in this year. 

2017, June 16th, We farewelled Fr Xavier who has been assigned back in India. Fr Brian Gleeson fill in the PP vacancy as Parish Administrator until the new Parish Priest is assigned.

2017, December 3rd, we welcome Fr Kevin Dance cp to be our new Parish Priest. Fr Kevin is no stranger to Endeavour Hils. He was the Province Leader who agreed that the Passionists would take on the Pastoral Care of St Paul Apostle Parish.
In the same month we sadly have to say goodbye to our dear Fr Tim O'Toole cp who passed away on 22nd December in Sydney due to cancer. 

St Paul Apostle, Our Patron Saint

Paul of Tarsus was a dedicated Jewish Missionary, who sought to re-unify the Nazarenes with the faithful of Israel.  Following his own conversion experience, he then dedicated the remainder of his life to preaching the Gospel of Jesus.  As a result, he founded Christian Communities all over Asia Minor.  Like the other Apostles, he was martyred.  We hold his feast day in late June each year, using the Mass of the Conversion of St Paul.

Cultural Diversity