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Pt Lincoln celebrates 150 years


St Mary of the Angels parish at Port Lincoln celebrated its 150th anniversary over four days culminating in a jubilee Mass on Sunday September 1.

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The name of St Mary of the Angels was given to the first Catholic Church in the town on August 29 1869 by Fr Modestus Henderson, a Capuchin Franciscan friar who came from Kadina to take charge of the Eyre Peninsula Mission.

He arrived in Port Lincoln in January 1869 and launched an appeal to establish the Port Lincoln Mission. He requested that people send in a few postage stamps, promising that soon there would be a fine church in honour of Our Lady.

In her book By Horse and Buggy: A History of the Catholic Parish of Port Lincoln, Helen McCormack writes that postage stamps came in by the thousands and Fr Henderson purchased a 20-acre block of land to build a church and presbytery with an area for a Catholic cemetery.

Bishop Sheil laid the foundation stone of the new church in August 1869.

The anniversary celebrations began with a memorial Mass for deceased parishioners, bishops, priests and Religious of the parish on Thursday August 29. The Mass was celebrated by Emeritus Bishop Eugene Hurley, former Bishop of Port Pirie (pictured). Following the Mass, a memorial was dedicated to Fr Laurie Quinn who was parish priest of Port Lincoln for 19 years.

The following night a jubilee youth Mass and parish youth group presentation was held and on Saturday evening Bishop Greg O’Kelly SJ confirmed children in the parish.

More than 200 parishioners and guests attended the Jubilee Mass celebrated by Bishop O’Kelly. Guests were later entertained by Charlee Watt, Dana and Kylie Hurrell and dancers from Odette’s School of Dance while enjoying lunch in a marquee.

Parish priest Fr Ben Mkuchu reminded those in attendance that “we are literally standing on the shoulders of those who went before us” and acknowledged the strength of persistent faith shown by the founding parishioners.

A vote of thanks was given to all the visiting clergy, in particular Fr Steve Ardill, who worked tirelessly to bring the celebrations to fruition.

Some of the memorabilia on view included footage of the 1939 Solemn Mass held to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the City of Port Lincoln; a display and history of a chair that was commissioned and used by Fr Patrick Kelly in the early 1900s, and the papal medallion awarded to Mr Tom Maxwell, generously loaned by his family.


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