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Graduates eager to welcome St Stephen’s visitors

Cathedral guides

Treasures to share: Latest graduates from St Stephen’s Cathedral guides and welcomers program gather with education officer Dr Barbara Reynolds-Hutchinson, second from right. They are, from left, Irene Ryan; Robyn Kastrissios, Paula Stein, Kris Paszkiewicz, Mary Evangelista, Betty Kerr, Linda Schostakowski, Anne Lowe, Michael Goodwin and Trevor Williams.

LINDA Schostakowski thanks an endlessly persistent friend and an inspirational tour of the Vatican for becoming a guide and welcomer in St Stephen’s Cathedral.

“My friend Jennifer Mitchell was with me in a prayer group and she was also a cathedral guide,” she said.

“For more than 10 years, she suggested I would enjoy doing this.

“Then my husband and I took a tour of the treasures of the Vatican … that was when I definitely knew I wanted to become a guide.”

Mrs Schostakowski was one of 11 people to recently graduate as guides and welcomers to the cathedral.

The group attended a morning Mass and then joined in a graduation ceremony celebrated by Fr Anthony Ekpo afterwards.

Guides and welcomers education officer Dr Barbara Reynolds-Hutchinson said this year’s group, the fifth of its kind, had once again drawn “a wonderful diversity” in skills and interests.

“We have a variety of professional backgrounds including an ex-RAN engineer, a librarian, business proprietors and business administrators, nurses, teachers and a retired lecturer in business studies,” she said.

“One of the graduates, Mary Evangelista, is also involved in the Embroiderers’ Guild so she brings a wealth of technical knowledge about vestments, banners and related items.”

Graduate Trevor Williams, a former training officer with the New Zealand Government and recent arrival to Brisbane, said he had found the history of St Stephen’s Cathedral and Chapel fascinating.

“I’m a guide so I’ve still a lot to learn but I’m finding it all quite exciting,” he said.

“There are so many features – the two Mary’s, the artwork such as the cross above the altar, and the story of those who donated the large and beautiful stained glass windows.”

Anne Lowe as manager of Aquinas Book Store (now St Paul’s) in the late 1980s and early 1990s took great interest in the renovation and restoration work at the cathedral.

After being made redundant in another job about 18 months ago, she started to look for something to take up her time.

“My best friend mentioned she’d seen an ad in paper for a cathedral guide and I thought: that’s what I want to be,” Ms Lowe said.

“I’ve loved every step of the program … and the classmates.

“And I’ve learnt so much about what I thought I knew but didn’t.

“It’s just been an amazing experience.”

Albany Creek’s Betty Kerr saw the advertisement for the welcomers and guides role in her All Saints parish bulletin.

“I love looking in churches, and I particularly love the thought of being part of the cathedral,” she said.

“I’m a welcomer for the time being but eventually may become tour guide.”

Mrs Schostakowski captured the spirit behind the ministry when she said “guiding and welcoming people to St Stephen’s Cathedral is a vital expression of faith”. “Not only this – people are also sharing their faith when they come to visit the cathedral,” she said.

“I’m so looking forward to this … and of course finding Jesus in everyone I meet.”


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