Over 200 years, the small Irish village of Crossabeg in Co. Wexford had a very famous Parish Priest - a man called Father James Dixon, who held the first ever mass in Australia. From humble beginnings as a 1798 rebel and convict, Fr. Dixon could never have known he’d begin a tradition that lives on with 5.2 million Catholics in Australia.
Now Crossabeg is remembering him a very special way.
To honour Fr. Dixon, we want to build a living memorial - not a headstone or statue, but a place where we can continue his legacy of peacemaking, benevolence and faith in action.
We want to build the Father Dixon Parish Centre, a community hub where anyone is welcome to come to learn and celebrate in the tradition of Fr. Dixon. Our current parish facilities are very slim. We have a school and a church but beyond that not very much. There's nowhere for parishioners to come together outside of the church building itself. There’s no parish hall, no meeting rooms, no place to socialise or facilities to make tea and coffee.
The Parish Centre will be a 235 square metre building with an entrance lobby, a hall of medium size, a lecture room fully equipped and a set of toilets adjacent to the Church. There will also be a large spacious outdoor garden with benches.
It will be a place where parishioners can socialise, have a tea or coffee after Mass, in particular on Sunday. A place where catechetical programmes such as Baptism, Holy Communion and Confirmations preparations can be held for young people. A place for they can also socialize, play sports and get to know one another. A place where elderly people can meet up, socialise, have meals and have basic medical needs attended to.
Who We Are
Led by Crossabeg Parish Priest Father Jim Finn, we’re a small band of friends in both Ireland and Australia, who want to bridge our two countries with a shared history.
Fr. Jim Finn - Fr. Finn has been Crossabeg’s Parish Priest for the last 16 years, He studied in St Peters College, Galway University, at Benedictine Monastery in Pacos, New Mexico, USA and at Jungian Institute in Zurich, Switzerland. He was ordained to the priesthood in 1976. Then spent 10 years in Mission House doing parish missions and youth retreats in Ireland, England, Scotland, Wales, the USA, and Mexico. Fr. Finn was a spiritual director and vocations director until 2018 and is currently Parish Priest of Crossabeg and Ballymurn. In addition to his functions as Parish Priest in Crossabeg/Ballymurn, Fr. Jim continues to do some retreat, youth formation work and spiritual direction.
John Jordan - Originally from Crossabeg, and now living in Sydney’s Castle Hill (the site of the Second Battle of Vinegar Hill!) John is a father of two who is passionate about maintaining a strong connection to his community back home in Ireland. John moved to Sydney, Australia in 2006 and, since then, has worked in the advertising industry helping him gain the skills necessary to create and run this GoFundMe campaign for his beloved parish back home in Ireland.
Where the Money Goes
Every dollar donated will go straight to the construction effort. We’re a small local team with minimal overheads, so you know your money is going directly to the cause. With design already completed, donations will go towards building materials, council permits, labour, construction, furnishings, fittings and audiovisual equipment for the community.
How You Can Help
We need about €300,000 to bring the project to life in total. We’re raising €100,000 here in Ireland and approximately another €200,000 in Australia. It’s a lot, but every donation - big and small - will help us realize the dream. You can check in and see how the Australian campaign is going here.
And of course, we’d love you to share this page with friends and family, via email and Facebook. The more people we can reach, the greater our chances!
Fancy a Cup of Tea?
Your donation makes all the difference. Whether you’re a local or you’re from further afield and find yourself travelling in the beautiful County Wexford, we’d love for you to drop in for a cup of tea and see how your donation is helping.