St Patrick's Cathedral, Parramatta

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St Patrick's Cathedral, Parramatta
St Patrick's Cathedral, Parramatta.jpg
Spire and section of 2003 additions
Basic information
Location Sydney, Australia
Geographic coordinates 33°48′32″S 151°00′13″E / 33.808808°S 151.003622°E / -33.808808; 151.003622Coordinates: 33°48′32″S 151°00′13″E / 33.808808°S 151.003622°E / -33.808808; 151.003622
Affiliation Roman Catholic
District Diocese of Parramatta
Year consecrated 28 May 1837
(as St Patrick's Church)
29 November 2003
(as St Patrick's Cathedral)
Ecclesiastical or organizational status Cathedral[1]
Leadership Vincent Long Van Nguyen OFM Conv
Architectural description
Architect(s) Romaldo Giurgola (2003 rebuild)
Architectural type Church
Groundbreaking 17 March 1836 (initial foundation stone laid)
Completed 29 November 2003 (rebuild following fire)

St Patrick's Cathedral, Parramatta is the cathedral church of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Parramatta and the seat and residence of the Catholic Bishop of Parramatta, New South Wales, Australia, currently the Most Reverend Vincent Long Van Nguyen OFM Conv.


With origins of the first mass occurring on the present day site of the cathedral going back to 1803, St Patrick's was extensively rebuilt after a 1996 fire devastated the original church established in 1854. A tower was built on the original St Patrick's Church which was consecrated in 1880 and blessed in 1883. A cast bronze bell was installed in the tower in 1904. As the needs of the parish grew, a new church was built on the site in 1936 incorporating the existing tower and spire (pictured above). When the Diocese of Parramatta was established in 1986, St Patrick's Church was designated as St Patrick's Cathedral.[2][3][4]

Building design and works[edit]

Under the incumbency of Bishop Kevin Manning and the then dean, the Very Reverend Peter G. Williams, the current building was designed by Romaldo Giurgola and the firm MGT Architects. Giurgola was commissioned in 1997 for the restoration and design of the new cathedral complex after fire destroyed the previous building. Giurgola was previously the architect of the new Australian Parliament House in Canberra.[3]

A program of major art works, craft and special design for the cathedral was also undertaken at the same time so that the art, architecture and furnishings of the new cathedral would be in harmony. The commissioned artists included Sydney sculptor Anne Ferguson (who worked in stone), Tasmanian designer Kevin Perkins (who worked in timber) and Sydney sculptor and jewellery designer Robin Blau (who worked in metal). The new Parramatta Cathedral was dedicated on 29 November 2003.[2]

The Norman and Beard late-Victorian English romantic pipe organ, built in 1898, was installed in 2006. This 19th-century organ was originally installed in St Saviour's Anglican Church in Knightsbridge, London. A new organ case was designed by Stephen Bicknell in collaboration with Romaldo Giurgola and the instrument was restored and installed in Parramatta Cathedral by Peter Jewkes and Associates.[4] The organ specifications were further enhanced in 2014 with the addition of several digital ranks of pedal pipes, including 32' Contra-Bourdon, 32' Contra-ophecleide, 16' Major bass; and additional switching devices for the transfer of swell reeds to pedal.

The building design and construction team were awarded the 2003 Sir Zelman Cowen Award for Public Buildings from the Australian Institute of Architects.[5]

Bishop and clergy[edit]

On 5 May 2016, Pope Francis appointed the Most Rev. Vincent Long Van Nguyen OFM Conv an auxiliary bishop of Melbourne to be the fourth Bishop of Parramatta. Nguyen's installation took place on 16 June 2016. The current parish priest and dean of the cathedral is the Very Rev Fr Robert Bossini (appointed 2014; in residence at the cathedral), assisted by the Rev Fr George Azhakath MSFS (assistant priest, in residence at the cathedral) and a permanent deacon, the Rev Willy Limjap. The Most Rev. Kevin Michael Manning (Bishop Emeritus of Parramatta) is in residence at the cathedral.

The current director of music, appointed in 2006, is organist Bernard Kirkpatrick who is a knight of the Holy Sepulchre and is also director of music at Good Shepherd Seminary in Homebush which is the seminary of the Archdiocese of Sydney. Other cathedral musicians include the senior organ scholars, Timothy Coorey and Alex Stevens, the junior organ scholar, Patrick Newman, and the assistant organist Michael Taylor. The cathedral is served by a team of 10 cantors, the St Patrick's Cathedral Choir and the Cathedral Schola. Sung liturgical services on Sundays include 6.00 pm Vigil Mass (Cantor); 9.30 am (Cantor); 11.00 am Solemn Sung Mass (Cathedral Choir/Schola) and 6.00 pm (Cantor). Music is provided for weekday Masses on solemnities (choir) and feast days (schola/cantors) as advised. The cathedral offers stipends/scholarships to students who demonstrate a high level of musical expertise and leadership skill and who wish to sing in the choir. Cantors and assistant organists receive an honorarium.

The cathedral sacristan and liturgy coordinator is Chris Ohlsen (also diocesan assistant master of ceremonies), who oversees the training and rosters of liturgical ministers, including the recruitment and training of MCs, acolytes and altar servers, Extraordinary Ministers of the Eucharist and readers. He also supervises the work of the volunteer Sacristy Guild.


  1. ^ "St Patrick's Cathedral, Parramatta". 15 January 2012. Retrieved 28 January 2012. 
  2. ^ a b "St Patrick's Cathedral, Parramatta" (PDF). Cathedral Parish of Parramatta. 18 July 2011. Retrieved 26 September 2011. 
  3. ^ a b Crittenden, Stephen (4 December 2002). "A new cathedral for Parramatta" (transcript). The Religion Report. Australia. Retrieved 26 September 2011. 
  4. ^ a b Crittenden, Stephen (3 December 2003). "New Cathedral for Parramatta (Part 2)" (transcript). The Religion Report. Australia. Retrieved 26 September 2011. 
  5. ^ "St Patrick's Cathedral, Parramatta". Sir Zelman Cowen Award for Public Buildings. Australian Institute of Architects. 2003. Retrieved 26 September 2011. 

External links[edit]