150th Year Celebrations a Success

St Mary’s Hamilton Celebrating 150 Years and Beyond

St Mary’s recent 150th celebrations in Hamilton gathered past and present parishioners to significant weekend events, highlighting a community spirit that lives on in the parish faithful.

Visitors were firstly invited to view a thoroughly researched and beautiful display of parish history, presented by two dedicated members of our church.  History tours of significant gravesites at Hamilton’s Old Cemetery were also on offer.

Memories of St Mary’s parish life were celebrated at a dinner held at Monivae College’s Chevalier Centre.  Guests attending from interstate, metropolitan and regional areas were thrilled to be so openly welcomed back to their church from childhood years, with one past parishioner quoting “talk about Faith in Action”.

Local talent entertained on the night, along with individual addresses of memorable moments of parish times over past years.  Each St Mary’s School student under the tutorage of Teacher Ms Shelley Waters participated in the design of a stunning leadlight display, as a special back drop for the dinner venue.

The following day a congregation to almost full capacity attended Mass celebrated by Bishop Paul Bird, Fr Patrick Mugavin and Fr Paul Gurry, whose family are an integral part of St Mary’s history.

Scottish and Irish heritage and Religious Orders in the Western District were recognised with young parishioners dressed in period costume selected to represent our ancestors.  School children were a focus of the moving ceremony, concluding with an uplifting song of Matthew 22.

Following mass Bishop Paul blessed a commemorative plaque recently added to the Gothic style church walls, with the inscription reading:  We give thanks for the dedication and great service given by so many parishioners since 1866, in meeting the spiritual and pastoral needs of our district.

The Church gathering space then provided the ideal location for a large community lunch, where many had gathered before us, sharing stories and creating a history we are proud to celebrate today among the wider community of Hamilton.  ERA nurseries of Hamilton generously donated native shrubs for members to plant at home in memory of their families and parish life at St Mary’s.

Whilst celebrations were about 150 years since the building of the first part of St Mary’s in 1866, extensions had followed in 1900 and 1987.  It was evident that many happy memories remain for those who gathered to join us on such a significant occasion.

Anne Slattery

Parish Team Member