About 50 parishioners joined more than 200 others at New Norcia on Saturday 7th March at the Blessing of Abbot John Herbert osb as the Seventh Abbot of Holy Trinity Abbey, New Norcia. Abbot John was the previous Parish Priest of Dardanup, one more connection in the continuing Benedictine thread which runs through the parish’s long history. None other than Bishop Salvado himself, then acting Bishop of Perth and New Norcia’s great Founder, laid the foundation stone of the Dardanup church on 25th March 1854 – the first parish church outside Perth. Bishop Salvado personally laid 25 upon the Foundation Stone. When Bishop Serra osb returned to Perth he created the new parish of Dardanup, on 10th December 1855, and the first Parish Priest was also a Benedictine, Fr Peter Aragon osb. Another monk, Dom V Garrido osb succeeded Dom Peter, and was Parish Priest until July 1858. It was he, who as Delegate of Bishop Serra, blessed and opened the new church 19th April 1857.

Fr John Herbert became Parish Priest at Bishop Holohan’s invitation in 2005, and the enthusiastic response of the parish to his election as Abbot of his Monastery was made very visible on Saturday when so many made the journey to celebrate the Mass with him and so many friends, to witness his Abbatial Blessing by Archbishop Hickey, and join in the celebrations. It was a most joyful and memorable occasion. The parish community left Abbot John with a new Coffee Machine for the community – having heard his disappointment that it was very difficult to get a good cup of coffee in New Norcia! Our prayers accompany him on his new journey with his fellow monks, and all associated with the great Abbey.