On Sunday, 6th December 2015 the Archbishop of Brisbane, Mark Coleridge, consecrated the church and altar at the Capuchin parish of St Mary's, South Brisbane. It was a joyful moment after a successful fundraising effort by Parish Priest, Fr Lam Vu OFM Cap, and his parishioners were able to purchase and install a new marble altar and marble ambo, tiled the floor throughout the church, restored the confessional and baptismal font, and added kneelers. The beautiful church is now a sight to behold!
The Romanesque basilica-style church was begun in 1892 and opened in 1893. It was simply named St Mary’s Catholic Church until the 6th of December 2015. At the consecration, Archbishop Coleridge dedicated the church to the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary into Heaven at the request of Fr Lam, so now St Mary's has the same patronal feast day (15th of August) as the Capuchin friary at Dutton Park (Assumption Friary) as well as our Capuchin Province here in Australia.
The marble High Altar was not designed for the church, but came from St Stephen’s Cathedral. The pedestals with the two angels adoring the Blessed Sacrament in the Tabernacle had been added. The Archbishop consecrated the new marble altar in a rite that involved the pouring of the Chrism oil and then the burning of incense. The new altar bears on it the emblem of a pelican feeding its young from its own breast - a symbol of Christ.
The church could finally be consecrated as it had now been completely paid off. It's dedication means it is now set aside solely for the worship of God. The relics of St Agnes, St Francis of Assisi, St Clare of Assisi, St Peter Chanel, St Pius X, St Mary MacKillop and St Pio of Pietrelcina were placed in the altar during its dedication. Twelve candles around the walls of the church were lit during the dedication of the church. These are usually lit each year on the anniversary of the dedication —for this church that will be December 6th.
An interesting fact relating to the parish is that in 1869 Mary MacKillop and five of the Sisters of St Joseph came to Brisbane and rented a house in South Brisbane. Mother Mary Mackillop taught school in the old wooden church of St Mary’s (which used to be where the current carpark is) making this site - only 1.5 kilometres from the Cathedral - a potential place of pilgrimage to celebrate her life. In 2009 she became the patron saint of the Archdiocese of Brisbane.
Congratulations to Fr Lam and to the parishioners of St Mary's for such a wonderful work for the greater glory of God. May Mary, Assumed into Heaven, keep you all in prayer and assist you with her Maternal protection.