PALM Beach Catholics welcomed their greatest belated-Christmas gift when Our Lady of the Way Church opened on December 28, 1964.
For one of its builders Ray Taylor, it was an even greater relief to see the new church.
“Mass was said at various places, so we decided to build our own, and built it voluntarily,” Mr Taylor said.
“That time there were a lot of working bees going on, but not a lot of money.”
Mr Taylor, his three brothers living in Brisbane, and several parishioners volunteered every weekend for one year to build Palm Beach’s first church.
The entire church was built for 6685 pounds, the majority of funds coming straight from generous parishioners like Mr Taylor, who had a building company at the time.
The new church meant local Catholics didn’t need to travel long distances for Mass.
“We had our own place to worship, and we could worship without going too far,” Mr Taylor said.
During construction, Mr Taylor and his wife Merrill were expecting their fourth child.
“She had to do without me on weekends for one year,” he said.
The same Palm Beach builders also helped complete the church in Grovely, Brisbane. That church was then known as St Philomena’s.
“You do it for the love of God,” Mr Taylor said.
He joined Palm Beach parishioners and members of the Burleigh Heads parish on December 20 to celebrate the 50th anniversary since Monsignor Leo Carlton blessed the church.
Parish priest Fr Ken Howell said the golden jubilee was a “significant milestone” for the Palm Beach Catholic community.
“This humble church building is a reflection of the people dedicated to their Church,” Fr Howell said.