Lane Cove MP Anthony Roberts has paid tribute to The Holy Name of Mary Catholic Church in Hunters Hill, which celebrates the 150th anniversary of the laying of the church’s foundation stone this week.

A new memorial stone was blessed last Sunday to celebrate the anniversary alongside a celebration Mass.

The parish will also honour Child Protection Week with a focus on the need for children to be safe, heard and seen in the parish community.

Mr Roberts described the 150th Anniversary as a “community milestone” and a milestone for the church’s founding religious order, the Marist Fathers.

“This historic church and her famous grounds are a landmark in Hunters Hill where a countless number of Masses, weddings, baptisms, confirmations and funerals have been held since it was found in September, a century and a half ago.

“Hunters Hill has been closely associated with three saints, St Peter Chanel SM, St Mary McKillop and in our lifetime, Pope John Paul the Great.

“This historic church in Hunters Hill has borne faithful witness to the great events of the Catholic Faith in modern times and with the very founding of Hunters Hill as Sydney’s French Village.

“Indeed, The Holy Name of Mary Church’s French heritage is evident in the many plaques, gravestones and artworks at the church and especially in the works and deeds of the Marist Fathers, which was founded in France two centuries ago.

“Migration has brought a strong Irish and Italian influence and many parishioners have attended our local Catholic Colleges and have made outstanding achievements in many fields and professions.

“Yet of all the changes, the one thing that hasn’t changed is the high standard of pastoral care provided by this Church and her outstanding priests and laity.

“This care is especially reflected in the parish’s commitment to Social Justice.

“Perhaps the hallmark of the Church and the Monastery is a deep sense of spirituality which pervades the church and its life through the Christian sacraments.

“Today the Church remains one of the few in Sydney that is open each day for private prayer and contemplation.

“It is a truly sacred space, a beautiful historic church and a parish blessed by the Grace of God, the love of Our Lord and especially Our Lady, whose Holy Name the church is dedicated.”

The Holy Name of Mary Church is sometimes known as Villa Maria although this term more accurately describes the complex of religious buildings which includes the church.

The French influence is immediately recognised by the art, stained glass, plaques and statues within the church itself.

Perhaps the most recognised statue is that of French Saint Therese of Liseaux although the Statue of The Sacred Heart of Jesus owes its inception to French nun Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque and her visions of Jesus at Paray-le-Monial , France in the late 17th Century.

The Marist Fathers are the Society of Mary which was founded by Father Jean-Claude Colin and a group of other seminarians in Lyon, France, in 1816.

The society’s name derives from the Blessed Virgin Mary, whom the members attempt to imitate in their spirituality and daily work.

The Marists also administer the Sacraments at historic St Patrick’s Church in The Rocks.

The Foundation stone blessed to celebrate 150 years of grace at the Holy Name of Mary Church in Hunters Hill.

The Holy Name of Mary Church in Hunters Hill.