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Buranda community gathers for first Mass at St Luke’s in 30 months

Mass at St Luke's Church Buranda

Refreshed: Parishioners gather in St Luke’s Church for the first Mass since the church was closed for renovation. Photo: Alan Edgecomb.

RENOVATIONS on one of Brisbane’s iconic Spanish mission-style churches, St Luke’s Church, Buranda, are finally complete after a 30-month closure.

The Catholic community at Buranda held its first Mass inside the newly renovated church on June 18, the first in nearly three years.

The church officially closed for renovations on December 28, 2014, and Sunday Masses were relocated to the Little King’s Movement centre in Woolloongabba.

Renovations to the church included a complete electrical rewiring and repainting of the church, repairs to the roof which was damaged in a 2014 hail storm, and the restoration of the high altar and two side altars.

There is also a new marble ambo and matching marble low altar, which were both originally inside the chapel at Penola Nursing Home in Wavell Heights, run by the Sisters of St Joseph.

These changes coincided with the development of a retirement and aged-care complex, St Luke’s Green, which is now part of the Buranda parish community and will officially open in September.

Parish administrator Monsignor Peter Meneely said the new village – which includes a 60-bed retirement village and 60 beds in high care – suited the parish’s missionary needs in the new millennium.

“We started by looking at a vision of a development of the site to respond to the missionary needs of the parish at this time in its history,” Msgr Meneely said.

“That new mission is in aged care.”

St Luke's Church

New altar: Buranda parish administrator Monsignor Peter Meneely celebrates Mass in the newly renovated St Luke’s Church. The refurbishment includes a new marble altar. The high altar also has been renovated.

Msgr Meneely said the parish came into negotiations with retirement and aged-care property company Greengate for a 99-year lease agreement of the church land.

The agreement includes protection of the existing church, convent and presbytery, and the development of St Luke’s care village.

“Part of the vision was those that lived in the area would have an option to stay in the area when they go into retirement,” Msgr Meneely said.

“It’s also eighty years since the church was open so major renovations were needed.

“We’re also seeing a significant densification in the area, with lots of units being built, and we’re seeing more younger families and retirees coming in.”

Msgr Meneely will act as chaplain to the St Luke’s Green community in providing spiritual care to Catholics in the area.

This would also include a proposal to have live-streaming of all the St Luke’s Masses on televisions, laptops and computers owned by residents of the village.

Msgr Meneely also encouraged lay Catholics in the area to grow the parish’s spiritual dimension through prayer groups and other outreaches.

“The church will be opened every day and will be there for anyone to pray in, meditate in, pray the Rosary in, and so on,” he said.

“My hope would be, certainly, for a good integration between the retired and aged care and the parish’s life.”

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