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Moonta church turning 150

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Parishioners of the Copper Coast parish will celebrate the 150th anniversary of the opening of Moonta’s St Francis of Assisi Church next month.

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The parish, part of the Adelaide Archdiocese, was initially served between 1861–65 by Father John Pallhuber, a Jesuit priest from Sevenhill who came on horseback every two weeks to celebrate Masses, marriages and baptisms in Kadina, Wallaroo and Moonta.

In 1865 it was established as a parish under the pastoral care of Father Christopher Reynolds as parish priest who came regularly from Morphett Vale. Father Reynolds was later to become Bishop of Adelaide.

In 1867 Father William Kennedy became the first fulltime parish priest and undertook the construction of the Gothic style stone church, designed by Messrs Wright and Hamilton.

Tenders for the building of the church were called and Samuel Rossiter, of Moonta, won the contract from three others. The tender was £578 and 15 shillings.

Advertisements were placed in the local paper, notifying that the church would be opened on Sunday December 12 1869 by Fr John Smyth, Vicar General of the Diocese.

The Bishop of Adelaide, the most Rev Lawrence Bonaventure Sheil, laid the foundation stone and Governor Sir James Fergusson was present as were Fr William Kennedy and Fr James Maher.

Bishop Greg O’Kelly SJ, will celebrate the anniversary Mass at 10.30am on Sunday, December 1. The church is located on the corner of Blanche Terrace and Roberts Street, Moonta.

A luncheon will be held at The Moonta Bowling Club following Mass. Former parishioners wishing to attend the festivities are invited to contact Margaret Orr P: 8825 2851 (evenings) and for catering requirements please RSVP by November 17.

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