Descendants of the parishioners who helped build St Mary Star of the Sea Church in Gerringong celebrated 140 years of community worship in style last weekend.
Standing proudly overlooking the ocean and known simply as “the church on the hill”, Mass was concelebrated by Bishop of Wollongong, Brian Mascord, Parish Priest Father Chris Roberts, and retired priest, Father Graham Schmitzer.
Parishioners both past and present from all over NSW attended the celebrations of the Church titled ‘Connecting to the history of our Church‘ which opened in 1882 and was built from the ground up with contributions from parishioners.
Wollongong Bishop Mascord said it was a beautiful occasion to honour the past, celebrate the present, and look towards with hope for the future.
“It was a blessing and privilege to be able to help celebrate the 140th anniversary of St Mary Star of the Sea Gerringong with the faithful, many of which are from families who have been generational caretakers of this church and community since their humble beginnings all those years ago,” he said.
“The hard work, enthusiasm, and zeal of the parishioners to maintain and sustain the faith community was incredibly obvious.
“St Mary Star of the Sea Gerringong is literally and metaphorically the church on the hill and a beacon that draws in others to share in the life of the faith community.”
After Mass the congregation were invited to visit thirteen “stations” at various parts of the church and grounds and its historical significance explained by a member of the family who was involved in its establishment.
Oldest parishioner Peter Quinn, 90, whose father James donated the Church bell, described why he donated it as well as its history.
The long-standing parishioner, who still mows the rolling lawns every few weeks, said he very proud of his family’s history with the Church and where many members of his clan were baptised, married and farewelled.