ABOUT Our Lady of the Nativity Lawson
Our Lady of the Nativity Church in Lawson is a parish in the Diocese of Parramatta.
Our Lady of the Nativity Lawson - established 1929
The Catholics of Lawson commenced working towards having their own church in the 1890’s and in 1903, Cardinal Moran blessed and opened the result of their efforts; a small but adequate wooden building dedicated to Our Lady Help of Christians. For all of this time, the area was part of Katoomba Parish.
Mass was celebrated at Lawson on one Sunday per month by priests from Katoomba. Early in 1928, Mr Richard Meagher offered his Lawson property ‘Durham Lodge’ as the site for a new church. The church Our Lady of the Nativity is in fact a memorial to his wife Alice Meagher, who died in 1923. It was her idea to use the property for religious purposes, including a church.
The local Catholics, led by Mr Wilfred Lillis, were enthusiastic about the proposal and expressed their desire to have a school established as well as a church. Rev St Clair Bridge was eventually won over to support the project after initial objections, and Archbishop Kelly gave his approval.
The Sisters of the Good Samaritan, who have been continuously associated with Lawson for more than 60 years, undertook to staff the proposed school. Money was donated by Mr Meagher and the Archbishop; plans were prepared by Mr Austin McKay and Mr B. G. Lambert was awarded the contract. The Foundation Stone of the new church was blessed and laid by His Eminence Cardinal Ceretti, on October 21, 1928. The completed church was blessed by Archbishop Kelly on April 7, 1929. Lawson became a separate parish with Rev Patrick Conway as the first parish priest.
The school began operating at the same time in the original 1903 church building, which was moved from its original site. A boarding school and normal day classes included High School classes to Intermediate Level. The school has been updated and extended over the years and today is staffed entirely by lay people. The Good Samaritan Sisters now manage the Santa Maria Centre, a fine stone house also donated to the church by Mr Meagher. During 2009 it also housed three novices during their studies.
In 1947, Leura was divided from Lawson. Leura and Wentworth Falls formed a new parish. In 1965, the church was enhanced by the addition of a Sanctuary and Vestry to replace the original temporary wooden structures.
The Sisters of St Joseph maintained a community in the parish until 1979. The building they occupied was sold to a covenanted ecumenical community in 2002, except for one small cottage which remains for the use of the sisters.
Fr Conway’s administration ended in 1952. Following him were Rev G. Humphrey, Rev F. Martin, Rev P. Farrelly and Rev C. Hatton. For 6 years after Fr Hatton’s departure, Lawson did not have a resident priest and the possibility of closure or amalgamation was raised. Mass continued to be celebrated, regularly on both Saturday evening and Sunday morning. Priests during this period included Rev P Morrissey, Rev Eugene Stockton, Rev Reginald Keating SM, Rev Geoff Plant OFM, Rev Finian Perkins OFM, and Rev J. McCulloch.
In November 1986, Rev Anthony Reynolds was appointed administrator and formally installed as Parish Priest in 1989 until 1994. The parish was then serviced by the priests of the Upper Blue Mountains Parish until Rev Theo Arrivoli took up the position of Parish Priest in February 1998.
In 1999 a new parish office and meeting room was built adjacent to the church. The presbytery was restored and refurbished in 2000.
Fire, Restoration and new features.
Following a fire on May 15 2015, the church was damaged and mass took place at Our Lady of Nativity Primary School until rebuilt with great skill and beautiful quality. The first service in the renewed church took place on Christmas Day, 2015.
Terry O'Donnell prepared a detailed account of the restoration, including pictures. It is available by clicking on the file
OLON RESTORATION AFTER FIRE 2015, below.
2009 (1 month)
2011 - 2014
2014 - present
PARISH PRIESTS & ADMINISTRATORS
Fr Patrick Conway
Fr G. Humphrey
Fr F. Martin
Fr P. Farrelly
Fr C. Hatton
Fr P. Morissey
Fr Eugene Stockton
Fr Reginald Keating SM
Fr Geoff Plant OFM
Fr J. McCulloch
Fr Anthony Reynolds (Administrator)
Fr Finian Perkins OFM
Fr Anthony Sciberras (Administrator)
Fr Anthony Reynolds (Parish Priest)
Fr Theo Arrivoli
Fr Vincent Savarinuthu
Fr Brian Rooney (Administrator)
Fr Paul Hanna
Fr Gerry Nworie (Administrator)
Fr Paul Slyney (Administrator)
Fr Paul Slyney (Parish Priest)