Our Parish Priest, Father Sean Cullen was appointed the parish priest of St Michael's Mittagong and St Thomas Aquinas in 2002.
In July 2019, in addition to his role as Parish Priest, Father Sean was appointed to the new position of Episcopal Vicar for Clergy. In this role, Father Sean representing Bishop Brian Mascord administers to priests and deacons of the diocese. He will promote both the spiritual and physical well-being for all diocesan priests and deacons. He has responsibility for the development and implementation of the key priorities for the care and ongoing formation of the clergy,
Father Sean was ordained 4 August 1984 and served as Assistant Priest in the parishes of Corrimal and Camden. In 1988 he was appointed to St Francis Xavier's Cathedral, Wollongong, and in 1990 was appointed Dean of the Cathedral serving Bishop William Murray, Bishop Philip Wilson and Bishop Peter Ingham until 2002.
Father Sean has also been responsible for a number of roles in the Diocese of Wollongong including Diocesan Vocations Director (1985 - 2000), the Diocesan Master of Ceremonies (from 1989 to 2014); Chair of the Diocesan Liturgical Commission (1996 - 2014) and the Council of Priests of which he is presently a member.
Father Sean has a special interest and love of art and music in sacred liturgy. He also enjoys a game of golf.
The parishes of St Michael's Mittagong and St Thomas Aquinas Bowral operate as a cluster parish in the Catholic Diocese of Wollongong. One priest celebrates weekend masses and attends to the pastural needs of the parishioners.
As a Parish Group we aim to create a vibrant Catholic community, rich in the understanding and celebration of liturgy, and which continues the mission of Jesus, as a visible sign of the Church in the Southern Highlands.
We aim to be welcoming and hospitable. By recognising and using our gifts and talents we will build a prayerful, open and well informed community which will be just and effective.
In embracing a common vision, our parishioners are encouraged to contribute in various way and with deep commitment so that our parish is full of vitality and truly life-giving for all who are able and willing to be included. Three of the most valuable ways of moving ahead can be explained in terms of:
Spiritual: to ensure that our liturgies in the Church are sacred - especially enhanced with music - and to encourage the presence and participation of more people in the liturgical life of the parish, especially those who are no longer connected.
Pastoral: To add variety and innovation to the many practical ways in which people of all ages can come together to enjoy their involvement in the Church, and to derive fulfilment from being of service to others.
Temporal: To contribute financially, so that our grounds and buildings are warm and beautiful, and properly maintained so as to preserve their appeal, their usefulness and their dignity.
Further, the parish supports two parish primary schools and one congretational school.
Data provided as a consequence of the 2011 national census revealed approximately 7000 catholics reside in the geographic area. Catholics make-up approximately 25% of the total population of Mittagong / Bowral local area. It is understood that some 20% of these folk attend church services which is higher than the national average of about 10%. The data is and will continue to be used for future planning for the needs of our Catholic community in the Highlands.
A little history:
St Michael’s Mittagong
The services for the Catholic Church originally were held in Rev. Fr. Toomeys house in Mittagong and in 1855 funds started to be collected to build a building that could be used for a church as well as a school. The building was built in Welby. Bishop O'Reilly laid a foundation stone on the 24th of June 1888 for a new church called St Michael's and it was opened on the 17th February 1889.
St Thomas Aquinas Bowral
The first Catholic Church of Bowral was built in 1891 on Banyette St. This was the first movement of the Catholic Church into Bowral. Bowral had long been considered a "Protestant" town unlike its neighboring towns Moss Vale and Mittagong which had a Catholic presence. This original church on Banyette St. was sold to the Evangelical Church in 1986 and rebuilt next to St. Thomas Aquinas School and presbytery in the same year.