Special centenary for Gayndah's Catholic parish
THE centenary of St Joseph's Church building is special for Jan Lutvey, whose family were pioneers in Gayndah.
"For myself, it's the church I've worshipped in all my life - 72 years," she said.
"It's special because it's a continuity of God's place in our town, and it's a place where we gather for joyful events and sad events.
"It's 100 years of continuity - it's magnificent!"
Doreen O'Sullivan's history of the church stated the Catholic community was served by itinerant priests until Father Constantine Rossolini became the first parish priest in 1871.
Upon his arrival in 1912, Father Patrick Brady agreed with his parishioners that their Downing St building was "out-of-date and inadequate", but it wasn't until May 1914 that he called for funds.
Within two hours £125 was donated, with a further boost of almost £500 from the church's grand bazaar held in September.
The new church, dedicated on April 18, 1915, by Archbishop James Duhig, was built of reinforced concrete, from sand and stone sourced from the Burnett River bed.
The opening attracted 800 people and priests from Maryborough, Mount Perry, Goodna, Nanango and Helidon.
"It stands tall as a community landmark, I think," Miss Lutvey said.
"It's a beautiful place - I often go and sit in the church while I'm up there.
"(But) it's the people and God, rather than the structure (that's important).
"Mass has been continually celebrated there for 100 years."
Miss Lutvey sighed with relief when she spoke of a parish meeting in the 1970s.
"We had a meeting here years ago - way back in the '70s - on whether we should pull the old church down and build a new one or renovate.
"It was overwhelmingly decided we would renovate and I was so pleased."
The Lutvey family has always been associated with the church.
"Russia Lutvey came to Gayndah about 1898 and he was a prominent member of the church at that time," she said.
"He and his wife and 10 children were all brought up as Catholics and all lived their faith.
"It's the same church we worshipped in when we were little kids."
As the Lutvey siblings grew up, they continued to support the parish priests and community, including current priest Father Jason Middleton.
"Fr Jason is most enthusiastic in celebrating the anniversary of the church," Miss Lutvey said.
The sisters are curating the centenary's historical display, which will include Fr Brady's chalice, several full sets of vestments used until the Second Vatican Council, Archbishop Polding's prayer book and other treasures.
All are invited to attend the April 18 centenary celebrations - a midday mass conducted by Archbishop Mark Coleridge and Fr Middleton, with a lunch to follow.
Lunch bookings should be made by April 9 to 4161 1315 or email gayndah@ bne.catholic.net.au.