St Leonard's Church
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St Leonard's Church
349 Springvale Road,
Glen Waverley, Vic 3150
Fr. John Dowling
9560 9469
Monday 10.30am - 3.30pm;
Tuesday - Thursday 10.00 am - 3.30pm;
Friday 10.30am - 3.30pm


Throughout its fifty years plus, St. Leonard’s has been well served by a succession of dedicated, energetic and innovative priests.

Our first Parish Priest, Fr. Leo Ryan was a remarkable man. He took the fledging parish of barely 200 people and steered it through an amazing period of growth. During his fifteen years at Glen Waverley, Fr. Leo set in place the infrastructure that allowed St. Leonard’s to grow and enable it to meet the needs of five decades of expansion and was instrumental in building churches at Syndal and Mt. Waverley.  He was also involved in the establishment of Avila Regional College for girls and Mazenod Regional College for boys. Fr. Leo Ryan moved to Mansfield as parish priest in 1970, he was already in semi-retirement due to ill health and died a short time later at the age of 57.

Fr. Jim Atkins followed Fr. Ryan but was parish priest for little more than a year before being transferred to Ascot Vale.  His replacement was a quietly spoken Irish priest, Fr. Tom Foynes.

Fr. Tom Foynes was appointed parish priest of St. Leonard’s on 22nd May, 1971 transferring from Good Shepherd Parish, Brandon Park. He was to be our pastor for 21 years during which time he was to oversee a dramatic growth in the parish, the completion of major building works and significant changes to the liturgy and to parish administration. Fr. Foynes carefully introduced the new style of administration of closer involvement of lay people which did not sit easily with many older priests and he became a model for many other parishes and is still in operation today. In 1992 he was appointed to St. Paul’s, East Bentleigh.  In early 2001 Fr. Foynes battled with and survived throat cancer, it came as a great shock when he died suddenly on 1st August, 2005 aged 75.

A late vocation, Fr. Greg Handley was appointed parish priest at St. Leonard’s 23rd January, 1992. He had been a bomber pilot with RAAF in England and spent eight years working for the Taxation Office before responding to call to enter the priesthood. He was ordained in March, 1955. Unfortunately, Fr. Handley did not enjoy good health. Sadly, his deteriorating health forced him into retirement after only two years at St. Leonard’s. He died 8th October, 1996. He was 72.

Fr. Brendan Dillon was our parish priest from 1994 to 2017, moving here from Epping. Fr. Brendan had a unique ability to draw people together and to motivate them and he had a major impact during his time here, creating a spirit of unity and community within the parish. Father has a well-known love of horse racing. He was appointed Chaplain to the Racing Fraternity in 1992. He retired in January 2017.

Father John Dowling was born in Broken Hill and grew up in Whyalla. John studied for the Priesthood at St Francis Xavier Seminary in Adelaide and was ordained at Whyalla on 10th November 1979. He served in the Wilcannia Forbes Diocese and the Port Pirie Diocese before moving to Melbourne in January 2000. He was an assistant Priest in Essendon and Frankston and Parish Priest in Langwarrin, Mount Waverley, and Surrey Hills/Wattle Park Parishes before commencing in Glen Waverley in January 2017.

The Priests of St. Leonard’s

1955-1970 Fr. Leo Ryan
1970-1971 Fr. Jim Atkins
1971-1992 Fr. Tom Foynes
1992-1994 Fr. Greg Handley
1994-2017 Fr. Brendan Dillon
2017-Present Fr John Dowling

Assistant Priests

1962       Fr. Tony Hally
1963       Fr. Dennis Lynam
1964       Fr. John McCrory
1968       Fr. Tony Doolan
1971       Fr. Bernie Mackin
1973       Deacon Peter Ray
1974       Fr. Vincent Burke
1977       Fr. Frank Chamberlin
1977       Fr. Peter Priestley
1983       Fr. Joseph O’Shea
1994       Fr. Michael Moody

St Leonard Of Port Maurice

Our Parish Patron, St Leonard, was born on the 20th December, 1676 at Port Maurice, a seaport near the Italian city of Genoa.  Originally intending to enter the medical profession, he joined the Franciscan Order and completed his studies at the Monastery of St. Bonaventure in Rome. He was ordained a priest in 1703.

Following an illness that lasted for four years, he began his 40 year career of preaching Missions, Lenten Retreats and Parish Missions throughout Italy and Corsica. He was noted for devotion to the Immaculate Conception, Veneration of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. His most famous work, however, was the devotion to the Stations of the Cross.

He died on the 26th November 1751 at the Monastery, where he had completed his studies and was canonised by Pope Pius IX in 1867.

His feast is celebrated on 26th November.

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