Parish of Alphington and Thornbury East.
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Office Address - 45 Railway Place
Alphington, Vic, 3078
Rev. Dispin John
9486 3633
Mon, Tue, Thu – 9am to 1pm

Parish Groups

Parish Caring Services

Asylum Seekers Support Group
Laxmi Fonseca
St Vincent De Paul - Thornbury
Brendon Leverett
St Vincent De Paul - Alphington
Tony Bolzan
Communion to the Sick
Mirella Pace
Anointing of the Sick
Mirella Pace

Asylum Seekers Support Group

 Co-ordinator/Leader:  Laxmi Fonseca
 Contact Number:  
 Members/Participants  12
 Year the group started  2004
 Main Function/Purpose  Support the Food Bank at the ASRC in West Melbourne by donations of milk and other grocery items on a weekly basis.
 Meeting Place/Time  Fulham Road Alphington
 Regular Fundraising  Monthly grocery sales after mass
 Major Events

 Indian Fundraising Dinner

Annual Christmas Toiletry Hampers

The Asylum Seeker Support Group started in 2004 and supports the Food Bank at the  Asylum Seeker Resource Centre (ASRC) at West Melbourne. The ASRC is Australia’s largest asylum seeker aid, health and advocacy organization. It is a non-government-funded, independent charity, working at the coalface with the most vulnerable and at risk asylum seekers.   On average, 160  asylum seeker families come to the Foodbank each week. Of these, 30%  have no income and an additional 50% live below the poverty line.

Our group donates UHT milk and canned goods weekly. At Christmas, we  make up gift bags of toiletries for adult clients. Our regular fundraising is a monthly grocery 'sale' at both Holy Spirit and St. Anthony’s, with canned goods on sale for $1 a can and an annual Indian dinner.

The ASRC’s Foodbank is the primary source of groceries for over 100 families every week

Average statistics for a month in the ASRC’s Foodbank

Asylum seekers coming to Foodbank each month:        350

Families with no work rights or welfare support:             75%

Total parcels distributed each month:                             390

Proportion of your donations going to asylum seekers:  100%

St Vincent De Paul Society

Co-ordinator/Leader:        Thornbury East

Brendon Leverett

 Contact Number:  
 Year the group started  
 Main Function/Purpose  
 Meeting Place/Time  
Major Events

 Annual Christmas Hampers


Co-ordinator/Leader:     Alphington  Tony Bolzan
 Contact Number:  
 Year the group started
 Main Function/Purpose  
 Meeting Place/Time  
 Major Events


There are two St Vincent de Paul (Vinnies) conferences active in the partnership parishes of Holy Spirit &  St Anthony’s. St Anthony’s operates as a standalone conference while the Holy Spirit conference operates as a joint conference with St Mary’s Thornbury.

Our two Vinnies conferences whilst operating only in the local area are nonetheless part of the state, national and international structure that serves the needs of those less fortunate than most. Vinnies was started in 1833 in France by a 20 year old Frederick Ozanam and named in honour of the French saint  Vincent de Paul (1581 – 1660) who worked with the most marginalised and powerless. Frederick was stung into action after a taunt from an anti-religious university student:  "You are right Ozanam when you speak of the past! In former times Christianity worked wonders, but what is it doing for mankind now? And you, who pride yourself on your Catholicity, what are you doing now for the poor? Show us your works".  From this single conference has grown a worldwide charity operating in 148 countries with 1.3 million volunteers and 51,000 conferences – ours being two of them.

On a global level Vinnies supports anyone looking for help in many ways – this includes (but is not limited to) soup vans, emergency accommodation, budget groceries, advocacy/research, language & settlement support and home visits which is the primary role of our 2 local conferences. Considerable information is on the Vinnies web site should anyone want to read more about the ‘bigger picture’ of Vinnies – see

As mentioned, our conferences concentrate on assisting people who have called on us for  assistance (we do not cold call). This involves going out, always in pairs, to the homes of locals in need. At times this can be a challenging and eye opening experience as a number of our clients have mental or physical health problems or may be substance affected; however it is always a rewarding experience as we see first hand the difference we make. The assistance we provide is most often  in the form of food vouchers but often extends to food parcels (non perishable food), provision of furniture (via a regional centre that provides this service) or to assisting with paying bills.  At Christmas time we also provide Christmas hampers. A home visit could be as short as a few minutes or may extend to half an hour or more for such cases where our clients are keen for a chat. Often the people we visit are socially isolated and welcome a pair of happy faces prepared to sit with them and hear their story. In fact there would be times when we are the only people that would visit them for the week. Many of our visits are to flats/units as few of the people we see can afford the luxury of a house.  Often we see families crowded into units with limited, if any, play area for the children.

Our finances: We are accountable for our own  finances (each conference has a treasurer) but we are able to call on regional funds should they be needed. A large percentage of our funds come via the generous support of the public, normally Catholics. When we visit our clients we make a judgement call on what support to provide as there are no set rules. We have internal guidelines on how often we offer support and a sensible amount of vouchers to offer but the decision is at the discretion of the visiting team. One of the reasons Vinnies has a high ratio of monetary support provided relative to money donated (in comparison to other charities) is the high  proportion of volunteers. This is true for the local conferences where we are  all volunteers.

Want more info or want to “Show us your works”? We are always keen to  spread  the word about what we do and are keen for more faces especially at St Anthony’s where the conference numbers are not as strong. Please contact the parish office and someone will be in touch. This is one of the few Catholic organisations that reaches beyond the Catholic community as we will help anyone who calls upon us for assistance. A true and very practical way of doing Christ’s work here on earth.

Communion To The Sick

“Besides remembering the sick in the general intercessions at Mass, those present should be reminded occasionally of the significance of communion in the lives of those who are ill: union with Christ.... and union with the community from which they are separated. “The obligation to visit and comfort those who cannot take part in the Eucharistic assembly may be clearly  demonstrated by taking communion to them from the community’s Eucharistic celebration. This symbol of unity between the community and its sick members has the deepest significance on the Lord’s Day, the special day of the Eucharistic assembly” ( Pastoral Care of the Sick #73). 

A dedicated team of parishioners visit and take communion to the sick, frail, elderly and housebound on a weekly or fortnightly basis. The Special Minister to the Sick attends Mass first and is nourished and  fed at the Table of the Lord in preparation for their ministry in bringing the Word and the Body of Christ to the sick and infirmed.  They carry with them the Parish community’s greetings and the Newsletter, keeping them informed and  connected to what’s happening in the parish.  

This is a most fulfilling ministry and I would highly encourage anyone who has  the desire to serve, compassion for the sick and infirm and a spare hour once a week to make themselves available for this most important ministry. Please  contact Mirella on 9486 3633 0r 9484 3955.

“In bringing communion to them the minister of communion represents Christ and manifests faith and charity on behalf of the whole community towards those who cannot be present at the Eucharist.” (Pastoral Care of the Sick #73).  

As well as taking Communion to individual parishioners we also take Communion to two nursing homes in St. Anthony’s Parish- Alphington Aged Care Hostel and Grandel Special Accommodation.

Anointing of the Sick

There are  two Masses of Anointing of the Sick in our Partnership Parishes on a monthly basis. These Masses take place on the first Tuesday of the month at St. Anthony’s and on the first Wednesday of the month at Holy Spirit at 9am. 

Fr. Dispin has visited and anointed a number of sick parishioners in our parishes before Easter. The Annual Christmas Lunch and Mass of Anointing of the Sick will continue to be held in December at St. Anthony’s whilst the Year 6 children from Holy Spirit will continue with their commitment of service to the elderly at Holy Spirit after their Confirmation. 

An Annual Reflection Day facilitated by Mirella is held at the Mercy Conference Centre.  This day of Reflection enables those who take Communion to the Sick to reflect and deepen their commitment to their ministry and discern the work of God in their lives.

For further information contact the Parish Office.

Church and Grounds Care and Maintenance

Contact Parish Office
9486 3633
Gardening Groups
Liturgical Flowers
9486 3633

Parish Facilities for Hire

Holy Spirit School Hall
Paul Samanna
0424 234 339

Fundraising Activities

School Community of
St. Anthony's (SCOSA)
9489 7936

Parish Ministries

No items.

Social Activities

No items.

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