The Parish of Mary Help of Christians includes the communities of Sawtell, Toormina, Boambee, Bonville and Crossmaglen. As a Parish, we strive to: be faithful to Christ’s mission of proclaiming God’s word to others; to be sanctified by His gifts; and through serving others be the face of Christ in our place and time. Our Parish Church and Parish Office are located on the same block of land but officially have different addresses: 2 Fourth Ave, Sawtell and 44 Boronia Street, Sawtell respectively.
An Historical Snapshot
Sawtell was originally part of the Parish Of Coffs Harbour. The expanding parish population, however, brought about the formation of Mary Help of Christians, Sawtell on 1st July, 1983. The inaugural Mass of our parish was held on Thursday, June 30, 1983. Fr. John Kelly was welcomed as the first Parish Priest.
The original properties with which the new parish was established were:
Our Church had been built originally as a Church Hall in, or perhaps slightly before, 1951. By late 1974 it was in a sad state of disrepair, and during the next 12 months it was restored and extended by voluntary labour, and with the assistance of a Federal Government grant, was transformed into a Youth Camp.
The Parish Office has had a number if uses since its construction in the 1940s. Originally it was built as a family residence, then used as a convent by the Sisters of Mercy, a temporary presbytery by Fr Kelly, and now the Parish Office.
Mary Help of Christians Primary School
The first stage of the school opened in Toormina in 1980 while we were still part of the Coffs Harbour Parish. The school commenced with 130 pupils in 6 classes. Our school is commonly known as Mary Help of Christians Sawtell because of its parish links, rather than by its geographical location in Toormina.
The Toormina Presbytery
This was originally the School Caretaker’s residence, a small 2-bedroom dwelling. Extensions by way of a room at the north end and a garage at the south were made to accommodate our founding pastor.