Clarendon congregation to bid farewell to St Mary's church this weekend

CLARENDON will bid St Mary’s farewell this weekend.

The final service at the community Catholic Church will be performed by Father Adrian McInerney on Sunday, closing the doors on 143 years of history. 

The congregation will move permanently to Buninyong from next Sunday

Parishioner Louise Gleeson said there would be some sadness among members of the tiny Clarendon community but also understanding. The Clarendon congregation is already integrated into the Buninyong one.

“We always get a full church but many are from Buninyong (St Peters and St Pauls). We have been rotating with Buninyong so we’d have ever second and fourth Sunday of the month and they would have every other Sunday,” parishioner Louise Gleeson says.

“Both churches have been getting fairly old. The Catholic Church is opening a new church in Buninyong in the middle of the year, and it only makes sense to use the new church.

“We have known this is coming. In the Clarendon community there are only five or six families in the district. We are saddened by it but we understand. It is harder for Father McInerney to come out from St Alipius.

“It is a bit of an icon for the community. All we have left is a cemetery. It’s a sign of the times.”

St Mary’s was build in 1871 by the original parishioners. Until about 10 years ago a service was held at the church every Sunday. 

Father McInerney said the building itself would be sold but its history would be preserved in the new church.

“The (Clarendon) church will be offered for sale and fairly soon,” Father Adrian McInerney said.

“The (Sunday) mass is an opportunity to say farewell. I appreciate it is a place that holds a special memory for a lot of people. 

“There is one stained glass window and we are hoping to remove that and replace it with some glass. We hope to have the stained glass window in the new church to remember the contribution of the church at Clarendon. 

“I have celebrated mass here for more than a decade. Of course there will be a little sadness because it will be the last time.” 

The final mass will be on Sunday at 2pm, to be followed by afternoon tea.

Clarendon parishioners Ursula Diamond-Keith, Lou Gleeson, Amy Gleeson, Anne Smith and Joan McKee.

Clarendon parishioners Ursula Diamond-Keith, Lou Gleeson, Amy Gleeson, Anne Smith and Joan McKee.