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Cathedral guides are the face of the Church to thousands

Welcome in: Retired media consultant turned cathedral guide David Todd at the front doors of St Stephen’s Cathedral. Photo: Joe Higgins

THERE were few groups in Brisbane archdiocese that had an opportunity to reach out to the churched and un-churched like the St Stephen’s Cathedral guides and welcomers. 

Thousands of people from all walks of life from across Australia and the world find themselves walking – or shyly peeking – through the doors of St Stephen’s every year. 

Retired media consultant David Todd said he loved being with the guides and welcomers.

He said it was great because it gave him a chance to “just learn stuff”.

It was fascinating finding out more about the history of the cathedral and early Brisbane, he said.

“I got a lot out of that,” he said.

“It’s great meeting different people and sometimes we have pre-organised school groups that come in, which is great too.”

Mr Todd particularly enjoyed showing people the chapel, which he said was marvellous and his favourite spot. 

“And I think it has strengthened my faith because information is powerful, isn’t it,” he said.

“It makes you think about things as well.”

Mr Todd said learning about the faith was a great way to build it.

“I think it’s maybe focusing on things and learning more about … St Stephen, for instance,” he said.

“I didn’t know St Stephen’s feast day was Boxing Day; I didn’t know that until I came here, and that the reason the (cathedrals) were named that was because they laid foundation stones, or turned the sod, on (Boxing Day).”

And his introduction to the guides had come to him by sheer chance. 

Mr Todd, who has been with the guides and welcomers for a year, found he had free time since retiring and discovered a note in his parish newsletter about the group.

Off he went to the training day and found “this training program was so professional”. 

He said the way the training was run made him feel equipped to do the job.

After about eight weeks of study, learning about the cathedral and the history, and six months of mentoring from another guide, he became a fully-fledged guide and welcomer. 

The commitment was only once or twice a month.

“You don’t need to be an overly talkative person, either,” Mr Todd said.

He said every person had a different style of guiding people through the cathedral and it was great to see the variety.

Anyone interested in joining St Stephen’s guides and welcomers, can contact Carmel Devery at deveryc@bne.catholic.net.au or on (07) 3324 3030 by January 29 for training to start on February 5.

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