Archbishop John Bathersby has announced the Archdiocese of Brisbane will begin a year long celebration of its 150th birthday starting on the first Sunday of Advent 2008 (November 30).
The milestone relates to the date Queensland formally separated from New South Wales in 1859. As a consequence the 150th celebrations will simultaneously be enjoyed by the entire state, the city of Brisbane as well as the Anglican and Catholic dioceses of Brisbane.
Archbishop Bathersby said he was delighted to be marking the anniversary concurrently with the Anglican Archdiocese of Brisbane, with whom there had been a long history of accord and ecumenical endeavour. Born as a Queenslander in Stanthorpe, he is delighted to celebrate with the rest of the sunshine state.
“The 150th celebrations will be a perfect time for the Archdiocese to reflect upon the church’s history of faith and service, a history that has always been powerfully linked and happily interwoven with the growth of Queensland itself,” Archbishop Bathersby said.
“It’s an anniversary of 150 years of faithfulness to Jesus Christ and the following of the Catholic Church’s traditions.
“Today our diocese is home to almost 650,000 Catholics who, even if not practicing, at least identify themselves as Catholic and help form a faith community shepherded by a committed number of priests, religious and countless lay persons and volunteers.
“Because of the people who belong to it, the Brisbane Archdiocese is one I am immensely proud to be associated with and honoured to be serving.”
“It is my sincere hope that as many members as possible of the clergy, religious, lay people and the wider community will participate in the great variety of celebrations that will take place in this sesquicentenary year,” he said.
In making the announcement the Archbishop also unveiled the official logo for the celebration of the Archdiocese’s 150th birthday.
The logo depicts the active figure of a person reaching out to serve God, against a background of the cross. It is a logo grounded in faith. A series of different colours intersect to form the shape of the person, each colour representing a different liturgical season. An additional feature is the inclusion of Mary, the mother of Jesus.
The insertion of this element was especially dear to the Archbishop’s heart because he sees Mary the mother of Jesus as essential for the life of the Church in so many ways.
“The Apostles of Jesus had known Jesus for a mere three years,” the Archbishop said.
“Yet Mary had known and understood him during 33 years of his life. “Her knowledge, he suggested”, was essential for the birth of the Church.
Her simple service to Christ as a child, and her fidelity to His mission as an adult, should be our model of service as well.”
He added “Through our provision of social services via Centacare, and schooling provided by Brisbane Catholic Education, we already touch an enormous number of people beyond Church attenders. Perhaps we could use this year to re-dedicate ourselves in service to all God’s people, and to do so inspired by Mary’s example.”
Some of the many events which will take place during the year-long 150th celebration include: Launch Event on the 1st Sunday of Advent with the 10am Mass in the Cathedral; a 25th Anniversary of the Signing of the Common Declaration between the Anglican and Catholic Archdioceses in the Cathedral; a week long visit of public lectures and in-service days with Fr Tim Radcliffe OP in late June; a week of celebrations including a Sydney WYD pilgrims/ youth gathering and a 150th Mass concelebrated by Bishops and Clergy from around Australia; the Opening of the Santa Teresa Spirituality Centre in late 2009; Catholic Education Week themed around the 150th milestone; Centacare Brisbane’s celebration of its own 50 years and finally the visit by the Archbishop of Dublin (where Bishop Quinn our first Bishop was consecrated before coming to Brisbane), and a formal sesquicentenary dinner.
Although the events that have already been flagged would be archdiocesan events, the Archbishop said it was not an exhaustive list.
“I’m mindful of the fact that since 1859, local parish life has been at the core of the Archdiocese of Brisbane, therefore our parish families are encouraged to participate fully. Parishes will also have the opportunity to plan their own 150th anniversary events as well,“ he said.
“As with the many successful parish based World Youth Day events held earlier this year, these can be as elaborate or as simple as the parish desires.“
Released by the Catholic Communications Office