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A Hard Act to Follow

The parish was placed in the very capable administrative hands of Father Frank Coorey when it was obvious that Father Sobb was nearing his well earned reward. After Father Sobb’s death, Father Coorey was replaced by Father Harry Kennedy who served as administrator until early 1983.

It only then became apparent that indeed not only did Father Sobb serve his current parishioners well by his planning, organization and spiritual guidance, but he was to leave his future flock with an impressive legacy of land, money and assets.

When the pieces had been put together, the parish of Narrabeen was found to have a very healthy dowry to offer her new bridegroom. As Narrabeen’ s parishioners were still in mourning for their beloved Father Amiel Sobb, in he walked, or more appropriately, flew, in the form of the dynamic Father Carmelo John Sciberras.

The end was nigh: the end of the slower pace and tranquil life, the end of the static and lethargic community that had seen the end of the first pastor’s days.We had realised for sometime that if we were going to survive as a vital Catholic Community, we would have to be sent a priest that would revolutionize us. The Holy Spirit in the guise of Cardinal Sir James Freeman saw fit to deliver us into the hands of this most vital of men, not just an active man but a veritable human volcano.

Why? Oh why us? Does this man never sleep?

At one of Carmelo’s first Masses, painting a ‘new look' parish scene, he made it clear to all and sundry what the Catholic Community of Narrabeen could expect to become under its new pastor and of how he would prepare us all for a future working parish ready for the year 2000.
Our dreams of relaxing on the golden sands and soaking in the sun seemed to be quickly diminishing.

Where did this new priest come from you might well ask?
On July 12th, 1938, Carmelo Sciberras was born in Sliema on the island of Malta. His primary education was completed in a Government school and for his secondary education, he attended the Archbishop’s Seminary in Malta. Carmelo’ s father emigrated to Australia in 1951 and five years later he brought his wife together with their four sons and five daughters to settle with him in the lucky country.
Carmelo, then 16, began to study Philosophy at St Columba’s Springwood. He then studied Theology at St Patrick’s Seminary, Manly during 1961. He graduated in 1964 with his Licentiate in Sacred Theology and was ordained on July 18th of that year.
His dream was to have a parish of his own and so began the long journey: he assisted in the parishes of Rydalmere (1965), Forest lodge (1965-67), Lane Cove (1967-69). Was the chaplain at the Concord Repatriation Hospital from 1969 to 1971. He then assisted at Greystanes (197 1-74), Manly (1975-76), Greystanes again (1976-80), Toukley, Castle Hill, Auburn, Camperdown, Leura and Lindfield. 1980 to 1983 saw him act as Administrator at Springwood. On February 2nd, 1983, he was appointed as Parish Priest, Narrabeen - a wait of some 19 years. 

The parishioners’ first impression of their new pastor: they quickly found him to be a great orator able to speaking with great authority and clarity of matters pertaining to Christ’s message and Church History. We had began to sit up and take notice: some were prepared to move with the post-Vatican II Spirit; others were not.