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Sunshine Coast aged care facility offers Catholics televised Mass followed by bedside Communion

Award winning: Stella Maris priest Fr Joe Duffy believes a new church and Catholic residential care facility at Maroochydoore offer a model for developing parishes in the future.

A CATHOLIC aged care facility on the Sunshine Coast, which offers a new and unique faith connection with the local church, has won a national building award.

State-of-the-art St Vincent’s Care Services Maroochydore, which opened this year with about 100 residents, has won the National Lifestyle Housing for Senior Award 2017 presented by Master Builders Australia.

One unique feature is that residents can gather in communal areas to watch Mass via closed circuit television, with Holy Communion brought to them at the appropriate time from the adjoining new Stella Maris Church, built on the same large block in central Maroochydore.

Bed-bound residents can also watch Mass from their private rooms and receive Holy Communion brought to their bedside during the Eucharist.

“Residents are delighted,” Stella Maris parish priest Fr Joe Duffy said.

“The facility was planned so that this would be one of the outcomes, and we are very happy to have achieved that.

“One of the other great opportunities is when they have great grandchildren making their first holy communion or receiving the sacrament of confirmation the program is relayed to their bedside.”

A few years ago when a decision was made to redevelop church land at Maroochydore, the parish vision was to create a Catholic community precinct – rebuilding the Stella Maris Church that had stood since 1922, and developing a new-era residential aged care facility.

Set amid landscaped courtyards and gardens, with space for barbecues and community events, the new, stand-alone church and 124-bed aged care facility, were built by Badge Constructions in partnership with St Vincent’s Health and Aged Care and the Stella Maris parish.

“It’s a high-tuned partnership and I believe what we’ve achieved here has some qualities of uniqueness,” Fr Duffy said.

“It’s better stewardship of Church property.

“That’s one of the reasons it has received the award, because residents can enjoy facilities on the grounds that would not otherwise be available.

“It’s certainly a model for developing parishes in the future.”

Fr Duffy has already personally tested the St Vincent care facility.

He was a patient for a few weeks after suffering a back injury.

Bed-bound, he was able to watch on TV as associate pastor, Fr Marty Larsen celebrated Mass at neighbouring Stella Maris Church, and then Holy Communion was brought to his bedside.

“It was a good experience for me.,” he said.

“And I was able to critique other priests homilies.”

Fr Duffy said the respite care he received was of “an exceptionally high standard”.

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