Sydney Catholics have always been fond of a punt, but a recent raffle at the Latin Mass community of Maternal Heart, Lewisham, suggests that they are big fans of beautiful church architecture too.
The community of around 300 people has somehow managed to raise $100,000 over the course of four months, money which will go towards the refurbishment of the 1924 chapel which they lease from the Society of St Vincent de Paul.
A $20,000 prize must have helped, but the yield is far too great to be sheeted home to parish regulars alone.
Fr Damon Sypher, one of the Priestly Fraternity of Saint Peter priests who look after the parish, said that parish had many friends who liked to visit once and a while.
“There are lots of people, including people in the wider Catholic community, who have benefitted from spiritual counsel and classes from our priest, and who like to support the parish,” Fr Sypher told The Catholic Weekly.
“And people love it because it’s one of the most beautiful churches in Sydney and also because we pay a lot of attention to celebrating Mass in a reverent and solemn manner.”
Originally built for the Little Company of Mary Sisters, who staffed a hospital on the site, the chapel retains its unassuming grandeur but is in obvious need of the tender loving care that Maternal Heart’s community – which includes many young families – intends to give it.
A Maronite family business, Inner West Towing and Car Hire, donated the entirety of the prize money.
The raffle was drawn on Sunday after Mass (winners have been advised).
Maternal Heart began leasing the chapel two years ago and needs to raise $500,000 for the first major stage of its restoration.
More information is available at maternalheart.org or at 02 9572 9694.