Member Biographies

 Mick O’Brien – Member – Parish Pastoral Council 2017

mick o'brienAs Principal of St Patrick’s Primary School I have been a member of the Parish Council since my arrival here in Pakenham in 2005.

I have been involved in education since 1966 and have been a Principal in Catholic schools (mostly all age schools) both in Sale Diocese and several different states across Australia since 1981. I have also lived in several different countries.

Apart from teaching, I enjoy singing, cooking and woodwork. I have three adult children who live interstate. I have and still do enjoy being part of St Patrick’s Parish.

Helen Staindl – Member – Parish Pastoral Council 2017 

“Born in Maryknoll, I was educated in Gippsland and spent a large part of my working life there. Several of my mum’s family (Clancy) were baptized at St Patrick’s. I am one of nine children and have always valued the importance of family. I have taught in Orbost, Cranbourne, Morwell and have been Principal in Stratford, Brighton, Geelong and now at St Clare’s.


My passion is music and I sing and tour with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra. I have also sung at the Melbourne AFL Grand Final, the Olympics and the Commonwealth Games and I have sung for the Queen and with John Farnham and Barbra Striesand.

I enjoy new challenges and have indulged in trekking in Nepal, bungy jumping, fire walking, white water rafting and skydiving.
What a delight it is for me to part of St Patrick’s Parish – it’s as if I have come home.”


Suzan Gupta – Member – Parish Pastoral Council 2017

kath_blank_profileHello, we moved to Pakenham and immediately felt at home at St. Patrick’s church. We love Fr. Mahony (who is like my Dad and has great humour), Fr. Darek’s refreshing sermons, and Sr. Margaret’s warmth.

We are involved in the cleaning and cooking ministries (dinners for festivities), taking communion to a lady who we became friends with, bringing our neighbours to church, visiting homes for the Time, Talent & Treasure program (my husband Saurabh is the driver, my daughter Donna the navigator and I knock on the doors and get ready to run if they let the dogs out!). It is wonderful to see how St. Patricks has grown and so have our friendships.

I hope to continue contributing through the parish council.

John Golja – Member – Parish Pastoral Council 2017

John GoljaI was raised in Newborough in Gippsland, where I also studied at Monash Gippsland before shifting to Blackburn in 1997 to study at Swinburne University. I married Deonetta in 1996, and have 2 children who go to St Patrick’s School. We have been in Pakenham since early 2010.

I have been with the Parish Council since late 2010, and with my science, technology and educational background, I try to share my skills within the Church and School where the Parish Community would benefit. I enjoy the relaxed and warm, welcoming feeling that I get from the Parish community. It is a great place to raise a family where a caring and nurturing environment helps to instil the spiritual values of our faith.

Michelle Cafini – Member – Parish Pastoral Council 2017

I have been attending St. Patrick’s since 2010. I usually attend Saturday evening Mass. One of the roles I have in the parish is a lector so you will often hear me reading at Mass, along with my daughter Isabella who also reads as Mass.

I am currently the Head of College at Rivercrest Christian College at Clyde North. I love my job as I can combine my passion for education with the opportunity to share God’s love and the Christian message with my students and the community.

Jane Parsons – Member – Parish Pastoral Council 2017

blank_profileI am the Pastoral worker at Shanagolden Aged Care Facility in Pakenham. My role here is to ensure the spiritual, emotional, social, psychological  and physical needs of the residents are met.

I have lived here in Pakenham and been a member of St. Patricks Parish community for nearly 30 years. My favourite place is the Grampians and have spent many holidays there with my family.  I love the outdoors.

I look forward to meeting you around the Parish.