St Finbar's Glenbrook Parish

Community comes together in face of devastating bushfires


Catholic Outlook November 2013 NSW Bushfires Story
Bishop Anthony with (from left), Acting Principal of St Columba's Catholic College Phil Stewart, Executive Director of Schools Greg Whitby, school captains Oliver Morley-Sattler and Casey Lewis, and Principal of St Columba’s Delma Horan. Photo: CCER

From Catholic Outlook November 2013

When catastrophic bushfires ignited in NSW last month the Blue Mountains region in the Diocese of Parramatta was one of the areas hardest hit. Several parishes were under threat with Springwood and nearby Winmalee bearing the brunt of the destruction.

Tragically, more than 200 homes were destroyed and at least another 100 damaged by the fires.

The original homestead ‘Elmhurst’ at the old St Columba’s Seminary was also destroyed.

Pope Francis wrote to express his concern to the people of NSW and sent them his blessing.

The Bishop of Parramatta, Most Rev Anthony Fisher OP, visited Springwood on Monday 28 October to meet with students and staff on their first day back at St Thomas Aquinas Primary and St Columba’s High School, which had been evacuated during the fires.

The Bishop thanked the school communities and said how proud he was of the way in which they responded to the emergency.

“We must have compassion and hope for those people who have lost so much and who will be impacted by this event in the months and years to come,” he said.

“We must show special love and care to those who have lost their homes and stand in hope with those who have suffered loss or were frightened.”

On Thursday 17 October, a bushfire had threatened both schools and St Thomas Aquinas Parish Office.

Staff evacuated the students from the primary school off the grounds and down to the local shopping centre where they were picked up by their parents.

Staff and students at St Columba’s High School were in lock down in the main building until the evening when they were safely evacuated by the police and SES.

Continue reading at the Catholic Outlook Site

The Diocese has launched an emergency appeal to assist those affected by the fires. It is being co-ordinated by CatholicCare Social Services Parramatta. 

Donations to the appeal can be made through CatholicCare Parramatta’s website:

People directly affected by the fires should contact CatholicCare Parramatta for support tel (02) 9933 0233.

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