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The ‘jewel’ of Biggenden turns 75 with celebrations

Country Mass: Craig Kimber, Fr Sunny Mathew, candle bearers Chloe and Jordan Galea, Archbishop Mark Coleridge, altar servers Emily Burns and Joshua Maroney, and seminarian Odinaka Nwadike at Biggenden’s 75th anniversary Mass.

Country Mass: Craig Kimber, Fr Sunny Mathew, candle bearers Chloe and Jordan Galea, Archbishop Mark Coleridge, altar servers Emily Burns and Joshua Maroney, and seminarian Odinaka Nwadike at Biggenden’s 75th anniversary Mass.

By Emilie Ng

WHEN Biggenden’s Catholic community opened the doors to St Peter’s Church on their 75th jubilee, the overwhelming crowd gave incredible hope to locals.

More than 150 people “crammed” into the small timber church on October 19 to celebrate 75 years since it was built.

The turnout was almost 15 times the number of usual Mass attendants, which average around 10 people a week.

Parishioner Bev Geissler said she had never seen so many Catholics fill out St Peter’s since she and her late husband Patrick joined the community in 1970.

Mrs Geissler described those attending as an “incredible” blessing for the people who organised the jubilee celebrations.

Biggenden’s Catholic community is one of five towns making up the Childers parish.

Visitors travelled more than 50 kilometres by bus to join in the jubilee Mass celebrated by Brisbane Archbishop Mark Coleridge and parish priest Fr Sunny Mathew.

Former Brisbane Archbishop James Duhig opened St Peter’s in 1939 before 300 people.

He described St Peter’s as “the most beautiful wooden church he had ever seen”.

This year, Archbishop Coleridge confirmed his predecessor’s words and said St Peter’s was “a jewel in the crown of the Childers parish”.

Childers parish council chairwoman Petronella Campbell said Biggenden parish was formerly swamped with families, but now only 10 to 14 had remained in their community.

Mrs Campbell said she always made time for Biggenden’s Catholic community, particularly to assist in planning for the 75th anniversary.

She honoured Craig Kimber who has altar served at St Peter’s for the past 44 years, and his mother June Kimber, who has had a lifetime involvement with the church.

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