By Emilie Ng
CONTINUING God’s presence in one of Queensland’s oldest towns has been Catholic parishioner Jan Lutvey’s principal calling for 72 years.
The 72 year old said she has prayed at St Joseph’s Catholic Church, Gayndah, her entire life.
“Our community is a continuity of God’s place in our town,” Ms Lutvey said.
On Saturday April 18, Ms Lutvey and her two sisters, Wendy and Eva, will make a lengthy prayer thanking God for blessing the church as it turns 100.
“It’s really a wonderful place, and you feel at home because we’re a friendly, welcoming parish that has always been blessed with wonderful priests,” Ms Lutvey said.
St Joseph’s Church opened “free of debt” on April 18, 1915, but Fr Constantine Rossolini, the town’s pioneering priest, founded the Gayndah Catholic community in 1871.
More than 800 Catholics witnessed the church’s official blessing and opening in 1915.
While numbers have lowered over the past 100 years, Ms Lutvey said the remaining community of around 70 is just as faithful as its founding parishioners.
“Mass has been continually offered every days for 100 years,” Ms Lutvey said.
“Thought we are few in numbers, we tackle everything enthusiastically.
“I’ve been a daily Mass goer all my life.
“My Catholic faith has kept me here, and it was the faith of my grandparents, my parents, siblings, all my relatives.”
Parish priest Fr Jason Middleton is proud to continue the town’s Catholic heritage into the church’s 100th year, but said there was still maintenance work needed on the history building.
Fr Middleton received support from the local Catholic primary school to hand out flyers and posters to local residents inviting them to the centenary festivities and to donate to the maintenance works.
“It was a wonderful gesture of solidarity and generosity from the school community,” Fr Middleton said.
“We are extremely grateful for all those who organised the event, sponsored a child, did the walk, handed out flyers and spread the word.”