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Goulburn’s Old Cathedral unveils ‘Way of the Family’ icons to cap off 40-year restoration

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The Way of the Family includes 10 icons, beginning with Christ’s washing the feet of the disciples and moving into his journey to the resurrection. Photos: Supplied
The Way of the Family includes 10 icons, beginning with Christ’s washing the feet of the disciples and moving into his journey to the resurrection. Photos: Supplied

The Sts Peter and Paul’s Old Cathedral in Goulburn has unveiled a new collection of icons known as the “Way of the Family” ahead of its inaugural fundraising gala Mass and luncheon on 18 November.

The event comes a year after the cathedral’s 40-year restoration was completed and celebrates the feast of the dedication of the Basilicas of Saints Peter and Paul.

The Way of the Family includes 10 icons, beginning with Christ’s washing the feet of the disciples and moving into his journey to the resurrection.

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Parish priest of Queanbeyan, Fr Tony Percy, says the commissioned artworks have arrived in time for the Mass and luncheon to highlight the family focus of the Catholic faith.

“It takes some of the mysteries in an around Christ’s life, passion, death and resurrection, and they try to help people see the beauty and the challenge of marriage and family as it is applied to these mysteries, helping people to be renewed in their marriage and their family life,” he said.

An audio tour accompanying the icons has also been published on SoundCloud for listeners to follow, setting the scene for reflection around St John Paul II’s understanding that “the future of humanity passes by way of the family.”

“People can see [and hear] how each of those scenes of Christ’s life related to marriage and family life, because it is under so much pressure at the moment,” Fr Percy said.

In keeping with the family focal point, the artworks have been placed around the cathedral’s statue of Mary, Protectress of Families, commissioned in 1994 for the year of the family.

“I would think too it would be a great encouragement for young people who are contemplating marriage to come and pray and get strength if they are thinking of the decision to get married and start a family,” Fr Percy said.

Family orientation is one cornerstone of the cathedral’s attraction, also boasting an impressive recognition as the only greenstone church in the world.

The original construction beginning in 1872 saw workers quarry the diorite porphyrite rock outside Goulburn city to build the cathedral, finishing in the later part of the 19th century and becoming the original cathedral for the diocese of Goulburn.

“It locates the building within human history, as a unique part of human history.”

Rising damp and ensuing water flow issues to the sanctuary and cathedral led to the beginning of a restoration in 1982, which included work underneath and on the sides of the building.

“We have firstly rescued the church structurally, that was the first part of the restoration, and then we came to the enhancement both outside and in, which was finished in 2022,” Fr Percy said.

Now he hopes to highlight these combined attributes of the cathedral to deliver a distinct experience for visitors.

“Because of the uniqueness of the building, the sheer beauty of the building both inside and out, we want to make it into a really fantastic pilgrimage site for people, because as the world keeps secularising, people need places of beauty, of peace, and of spirituality.”

The upcoming gala Mass begins at 12pm and is followed by the luncheon at 1pm and is designed to bring people from Sydney and locals to celebrate the feast and raise funds to maintain the cathedral.

“We are on a mission to let people know about it so they can come and be renewed in faith,” Fr Percy said.

Contact [email protected] or call 0476 025 676 to RSVP to the event.

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