CATHOLIC clergy aren’t always given superstar status but it felt that way when Brisbane’s Archbishop Mark Coleridge visited his “country cousins” in Childers.
Parish council member Denise Rapkins said Archbishop Coleridge’s recent visit to Sacred Heart Church marked the 75th anniversary of a former parish priest’s dream building.
Mrs Rapkins and her husband have spent the past 15 years in Childers, which is known for being “the farthest flung parish” in the archdiocese.
“Sometimes it feels like we’re country cousins,” Mrs Rapkins said.
In 2010 the Childers parishioner was heavily involved in collecting Sacred Heart’s history for its centenary celebrations, including the records of its present church.
In 1940 former parish priest Fr Robert Lyons led the way for a new church for his parishioners.
“It was his dream to build the church,” Mrs Rapkins said.
“When Fr Lyons built (the present church), he said, ‘Let’s hope this is a successful venture’.”
Seventy-five years later, the Romanesque church is a constant reminder of a priest’s dream for his people.
Despite their distance from Brisbane, the parishioners have managed to stay strong, with about 50 Catholics attending Mass every weekend.
“We’re a pretty strong community,” Mrs Rapkins said.
“We try to make our faith stronger.”
She said the parish council was often in contact with organisers in Brisbane to co-ordinate guest speakers to further improve the formation of the parish.
Their next guest speaker will be Fr James Mallon, from Halifax, Canada, who will share his insights into evangelisation and growing missionary disciples.
By Emilie Ng