Parish history

Learn more about the history of St Anthony and St Luke’s Catholic Parish

St Anthony’s

St Anthony’s Parish was formed as the second Catholic Parish in the Redlands, being carved out from the Star of the Sea Parish, Cleveland in late 1978.   Father Paul Rooney was appointed as the Parish Priest by Archbishop Francis Rush in January 1979.

The boundaries of the new parish stretched across Alexandra Hills and all the areas now covered by St Mary MacKillop Parish, Birkdale and St Luke’s, Capalaba. The two were later carved out as parishes from St Anthony’s.

The first mass in the parish was celebrated on Sunday, 7th January, 1979 at Alexandra Hills State School. The congregation of the parish rapidly grew which made the need for a permanent place of worship urgent. Since St Martina’s Church at Coorparoo was relocating to her present site, the young St Anthony’s Parish asked for and received the gift of their old church building which became the “new” church building for the parish after necessary refurbishment was done.

St Anthony’s continued to grow both in numerical and spiritual strength and the need for a larger church soon became evident. With a passion for God’s work, the parishioners embarked on construction of the present church building with a seating capacity of 400. The Church was blessed and opened for worship by Bishop John Gerry on November, 28th, 1981.

Also in 1981, St Anthony’s Primary School, Alexandra Hills was opened with the admission of students for classes 1 to 5. The administration of the school was originally entrusted to the Presentation Sisters. In recent times, the school has come under the administration of Brisbane Catholic Education Services.

In 1984, St Anthony’s Parish, following the steps of her patron saint, St Anthony of Padua, established a fifteen unit social housing project in Babiana Street called “Padua Place”. This has been largely successful and its success led to the conception of another social housing project with particular attention to young adults with disabilities who are able to live independently, “ClareHaven”. ClareHaven Stage I was built in 2011 with Fr Emmanuel Aguiyi as the Parish Administrator. Plans for ClareHaven Stage II are in top gear.

A major change in the parish administration occurred in 2004, when Fr Paul Rooney and his Pastoral Associate retired. Due to the needs of the Archdiocese, St. Anthony’s Parish and her sister parish, St Luke’s Capalaba began to share one pastor and were administered jointly. This meant that Fr Peter McCarthy, who was already the Parish Priest of St Luke’s Capalaba, also became the Administrator of St Anthony’s, Alexandra Hills. Despite the difficult task of managing two parishes, Fr Peter brought in a lot of dynamism to his two parishes. When Fr Peter eventually proceeded on long service leave in 2010, Fr Mauro Conte was appointed to hold brief for him.

In July, 2010, Father Emmanuel Aguiyi was appointed the Administrator of St Luke’s Parish, Capalaba and St Anthony’s Parish, Alexandra Hills. With the active support of parishioners from the two parishes, the two parishes merged into one and which is now known as St Anthony’s and St Luke’s Parish, Alexandra Hills-Capalaba with Fr Emmanuel Aguiyi as the pioneer Parish Priest.

St Luke’s

In 1986 Archbishop Francis Rush approved the establishment of new parishes in the Redland Shire (now Redland City) due to the rapid expansion there. One of the new parishes was St Luke’s Parish, covering the communities of Capalaba, Sheldon and Mt Cotton. It was situated at 45 Degen Road Capalaba. Fr Gerard Kalinowski was appointed as the inaugural Parish Priest of the new parish.

The first mass at St Luke’s was celebrated in the Police Community Youth Centre (PCYC) building adjacent to the Parish property. Weekly Eucharistic celebrations continued there until modifications were made to the presbytery carport. The presbytery was formally a family home before it was purchased by the Catholic Church to be used as the residence of the Parish Priest. Initially, weekend masses were celebrated in the presbytery carport and the mid-week masses were celebrated in the presbytery meeting room. As the number of parishioners continued to increase, the carport became barely enough to contain those attending weekend masses, and the presbytery meeting room was struggling to contain those attending mid-week masses. As a consequence the need arose for a more conducive place of worship as it had always been on the minds of the parishioners of the young parish to have a permanent place of worship.

A parish assembly was then held and one of its decisions was to build the present St Luke’s Catholic Church on its current site. As it was common in those days, the building was designed as a community hall, which could be used for other purposes apart from parish masses and liturgies. Parishioners worked together to design and build the church largely by holding extensive working bees and the likes under the supervision of a parishioner who was a local builder. In 1988, the Catholic Church of St Luke’s Capalaba was blessed and opened by Archbishop Rush.

The attention of the young parish was then turned to the need of a school. After yet another parish assembly, the proposal to build a two stream school within the church property was accepted and the construction of St Luke’s Primary School commenced. In 1989, St Luke’s Primary School was opened for the education of children within the community.

In 1996 and after nine years in the parish, Fr Kalinowski was replaced by Fr Peter McCarthy as the new Parish Priest of St Luke’s Catholic Parish. It was during Fr Peter McCarthy’s time at St Luke’s that St Luke’s Parish Child Care Centre was built.

In 2004, with the dwindling number of priests and regular mass attendees in parishes of the Archdiocese, Fr Peter McCarthy was assigned in addition to St Luke’s Parish, the administration of St Anthony’s Parish at Alexandra Hills. The parish in which St Luke’s was originally carved from.

In 2009, Fr Emmanuel Aguiyi was appointed as Administrator of St Luke’s Catholic Parish Capalaba and St Anthony’s Catholic Parish Alexandra Hills, replacing Fr Peter. During his time, members of the two parishes expressed the desire to merge into one parish for administrative and pastoral conveniences. In 2012, under the pastoral leadership of Fr Emmanuel Aguiyi, the two parishes amalgamated into one. Fr Emmanuel then became appointed the inaugural Parish Priest of the new St Anthony and St Luke’s Catholic Parish, Alexandra Hills/Capalaba.