In July, parishioners gathered for a thanksgiving Mass to celebrate the completion of the renovations, which have created more modern and comfortable surroundings in which to worship.
Located on North East Road, the current St Monica’s Church was opened on Palm Sunday, 1953. Apart from some works undertaken in the 1970s to comply with the reforms of Vatican II, the church remained unchanged for the next 40 years. However, in 2013 the Parish Finance Committee, under the direction of Fr Kym Spurling, agreed that some upgrades were needed.
The first step was to improve the sound system and the entrance foyer, where new cupboards, carpet and noticeboards were installed to create a more welcoming space.
In January 2015 the façade of the church was partly rendered to give the building more ‘character’ and help it stand out within the streetscape. Painting of the exterior followed later in the year.
Renovating the sanctuary was next on the list. This involved removing the carpet from the back wall, relocating the leadlight windows to the side, and covering the 1950s timber walls with gyprock.
The statues were repositioned onto plinths on the back wall, the tabernacle area was doubled in size and the baptismal font was repositioned to the other side of the sanctuary.
The building was then rewired and new lighting was installed. Improvements were made to the sound system and an audio visual system was installed.
The confessional was redesigned to bring it in line with current child protection standards and once all this work was completed the interior of the church was painted.
New carpet was laid in June last year and has made a remarkable difference to the visual impact of the interior. Designed by Fr Kym, the carpet replicates the Celtic cross on the front altar and also acknowledges the Irish ancestry of the pioneers of the church.
Two new commentator and lectern stands were handmade by a parishioner from the wood of excess pews, and a special prayer alcove was created to honour St Mary of the Cross MacKillop.
Parishioners contributed to the restoring of pews through an ‘adopt a pew’ campaign initiated by Fr Kym Spurling.Jump to next article