By Brendan Parker
A BEAUTIFUL Saturday afternoon was shared by visitors from Albany, Mount Barker, Walpole, other local churches and the shire council, to celebrate the 90th birthday of Denmark’s St Mary’s Catholic Parish.
MC Deborah Parker guided visitors inside the church for a welcome by Adrian Hinds, chairman of the parish council, and a presentation of papal blessings to various families by Bishop Holohan, who had travelled from Bunbury.
There was also a telling of the 90-year church history as recalled by John Ricketts, one of the longest-associated parishioners.
Following the service there was a ceremonial planting of a Southern Plains banksia by Jeremy Bate, with words of encouragement for the future of St Mary’s.
A pictorial history display in the parish house included fondly remembered images of Terry Quinn, Phillip Middleton, Louise Hinds and many others, along with past events and images of current parishioners who were present.
Wilhelmina and Nick Bentink, who were married in the church 56 years ago, were able to remember the day by looking at the photograph of their big day and then moving on to the photograph of their son’s wedding in the same church.
Later, Mass was celebrated with participation of old and young parishioners.
Also celebrated was 90 years of St Mary’s as a meeting place where people have been baptised, married and have supported one another through wars, triumphs, disasters and deaths.
More than a historic building, it is a sacred meeting place.
After Mass an outstanding dinner was laid out on tables in marquees.
New parishioners from around the world brought along wonderful international flavours to compliment Aussie favourites such as those cooked by our pioneers.
Some drinks and remarkable desserts were capped by the bishop cutting the celebration cake to serve with tea and coffee.
What a day, spent with people who themselves are living treasures, sharing memories of those who went before and helped create circumstances for the good fortune we enjoy today