ST BRIGID’S church centenary celebrations concluded yesterday with a Mass and the unveiling of a new memorial peace and healing garden.
Supporters filled the church to attend Mass with Bishop Peter Bird, who also officially opened the garden.
Friends of St Brigid’s committee member and author of Saving St Brigid’s Regina Lane said the Mass was the very first Catholic Mass at the church since it had closed in January 2006.
“It’s a really special moment for us,” she said.
“People have come from across Australia. It’s not surprising, we did expect people to come back. There’s something about this place.”
Ms Lane said bricks were available to purchase to pave the garden with donators’ names etched on them and, during the Mass the families of the original builders of the church were represented.
MC and Friends of St Brigid’s committee member Gerry O’Brien told churchgoers the celebration was another great day for St Brigid’s church.
“Many of us have fond memories of significant events in our lives which have taken place in this church,” he said.
“100 years ago the local parishioners — our ancestors — built and paid for this sacred building. Now 100 years later we — the laity — and the descendants of those people, once again take on the burden of restoring, maintaining and paying for these buildings.
“We will honour our ancestors by establishing an Irish Australian Community and Heritage Centre on this precinct.
“This church will continue to play an important role in our community by providing a place where life events can be celebrated.”
Mr O’Brien said the memorial peace and healing garden was a place where people can sit in quiet contemplation.
“Throughout the centuries, churches have been regarded as a place of refuge in troubled times,” he said.
“We intend to continue that tradition here at St Brigid’s where we welcome all, and we strive to provide an atmosphere of refuge and healing. A church where all can experience quiet contemplation and emotional, psychological spiritual healing. Particularly those innocents who have suffered violation from people in positions of authority.”
Sister Shirley Gallagher unveiled a plaque commemorating the 100 years celebration.
The plaque sits beside the original opening plaque from 1914.
The statue of St Brigid was also welcomed back into the church.