The first reference to a Catholic church in the Granville area appears in 1881 in the Freeman's Journal (2 July 1881). It refers to a visit by the Archbishop of Sydney to Parramatta and Granville for the purpose of opening a new church in Granville. Construction of this church began in October 1880. The church was described as ".. comparatively small in size and has little architectural beauty, but is well furnished, affording as it does room for eighty persons." The paper also noted that further work on the church would be required - "The church in its present condition will be large enough for the requirements of the mission for months yet, then additions will be proceeded with" - to enable a much larger congregation. This first church would be dedicated to the patronage of the Holy Trinity.
The Sisters of St. Joseph, who had been formed by St. Mary of the Cross MacKillop, established a convent in Granville in 1885 - 1 year prior to a parish being formed in Granville.
Holy Trinity officially became a parish in April 1886 and incorporated Granville, Harris Park, Merrylands, Guildford and East Granville. Up to this point, this entire region had been under the guidance of the Parramatta Parish.
Part of the church was blown down in 1895 and had to be rebuilt and extended. Cardinal Moran blessed and dedicated the extensions later in the same year.
In 1906, Cardinal Moran asked the parish priest at the time, Father Flahavan, to build a new church as the current church was becoming too small for the expanding population. Due to ill-health, Father Flahavan was unable to carry out Cardinal Moran's request but Father Flahavan's predecessor, Father Grace, was able to commence the building of the new church and see its completion. Unfortunately, given that the new church was the same size as the old church, it did little to accommodate the growth of new parishioners.
The second Holy Trinity Church on the corner of Randle and Grimwood Streets was opened in April 1907. In May 1908, the new church was destroyed by fire. It was rebuilt and reopened in October 1908 and remained the parish church for Holy Trinity until the present church was opened in 1965. After extensive heritage restoration, the 1907/1908 church (which had become known as ‘the brown hall’) was re-opened in 2008 and renamed MacKillop Hall. The image shown is of the church before the fire.
By 1936, options for an additional Mass centre began to be investigated to cater for Granville Parishioners who lived in the South Granville area. To this point in time, parishioners from this area would have to, for the most part, walk to Holy Trinity Church every Sunday to attend Mass. To that end, under the guidance of Granville Parish Priest, Fr John Halpin, the faithful of the South Granville (who would later become known as “The Trongate District”) the first Mass was offered at the GEPA Hall on the Trongate, South Granville (Site of the present day Holy Family Church). This building, which had been rented by the Granville Parish from May 1936, would later be purchased in January 1937. This allowed for a permanent Mass centre to be established for the faithful in the region and allowed for the Sisters of St. Joseph to begin a convent school in the area in February 1938.
In November 1946, the parish of Holy Family, East Granville was established in its own right along with the parish of St. Margaret Mary’s Merrylands which had also to this point, been part of the Granville Parish. In the December 1946 issue of the Granville Catholic Church Record, special mention was made of this occasion with the following written:
“With feelings of joy at the extension of the Kingdom of God, the Record announces that Holy Family at East Granville and St. Margaret Mary’s at Merrylands are now parishes in their own right. The mother parish of Holy Trinity, Granville – and her parishioners – heartily congratulates her daughters and dedicates them to the great work of the salvation of souls.”
In 1960, Holy Trinity parishioners, under the guidance of Father Patrick Brennan (Parish Priest between 1953 - 1968), formed a committee to investigate the possibility of erecting a new church on the site to replace the existing church which was opened in 1908.
In 1963, construction began on the current Holy Family Church with the foundation stone blessed on Sunday 24th February by Cardinal Gilroy, Archbishop of Sydney. Cardinal Gilroy then returned to East Granville on 27th October 1963 for the official blessing and opening of the Holy Family Church. Due to the high number of people in attendance, it was decided by then Parish Priest, Fr Frank Martin that the blessing of the church will take place with only the Cardinal and those assisting with the blessing ceremony and then be opened to the faithful to enter for the Mass which followed.
The foundation stone of the current Holy Trinity church was blessed and laid by Cardinal Gilroy, Archbishop of Sydney, on 23 May 1965. On 28 November 1965, the Auxiliary Bishop to his Eminence Cardinal Gilroy, the Most Rev J P Carroll, blessed and opened the church. The church was dedicated to the memory of members of the three armed services who gave their lives for their country during World Wars I and II. Because of this, the church is also known as the Holy Trinity War Memorial Church.
For over 70 years, the parishes of Holy Trinity, Granville and Holy Family, East Granville continued to serve the faithful of Granville and the surrounding areas. As the parishes continued to grow and evolve, so did our parish schools whose foundations were strongly formed by religious such as the Sisters of St. Joseph in both our primary schools and the Patrician Brothers in our High School. This tradition of catholic education continued subsequently by the introduction of lay teaching staff.
In 2014, the Diocese of Parramatta decided that the parishes of Holy Family and Holy Trinity be twinned. This was in response to the Dioceses’ recently released Pastoral Plan, “Faith in our Future.” The twinning allowed for a closer collaboration between both parishes which allowed for many opportunities which were not previously possible. Throughout this collaboration stage, many new initiatives such as the Good Friday Cross Walk, Fairs and Carols became annual traditions which have become anticipated parish events by parishioners each year.
On the 14th September 2020, the Most Reverend Vincent Long OFM Conv, Bishop of Parramatta decreed that the former parishes of Holy Family, East Granville and Holy Trinity, Granville would once again be united under one common patron. This unification has now formed the Parish of the Holy Cross, Granville.