Published: 20 May 2014
On Sunday, 18 May 2014, a Bush Mass was organized by the Catholic Aborigines of the Mareeba Parish. This maintained a tradition that has developed in St Thomas of Villanova Parish, Mareeba.
One of the participants reported, “This year the Mass was held at the Yumba, the usual site near Biboohra being unavailable. The Yumba is the old Council Aboriginal Reserve in Mareeba, located on the bank of the Granite Creek and is a place of historical significance. Until well into the 1960s many Aboriginal families lived there, including most of our Aboriginal parishioners.”
“Father Robert Greenup O.S.A. and Deacon Ralph Madigan, from Indigenous Connections (Diocese of Cairns), celebrated Mass with over thirty adults and children attending.”
“It was rather a lovely addition to the usual Bush Mass gathering that people who earlier had lived on the reserve told us of their memories of life there. We left feeling that modern living has done us a disservice really as life on the land by a river was a great way for kids to grow up.”
“Mass was followed by billy tea, damper and fellowship.”
Along with all the Catholic Churches throughout the world, St Thomas of Villanova Catholic Church in Mareeba, celebrated the Easter Triduum. In the absence of our Parish Administrator, Fr Robert Greenup O.S.A,, who was celebrating the Easter ceremonies on Thursday Island as part of his Indigenous Connections ministry, the Easter ceremonies at St Thomas’s were celebrated by Fr Andrew from the Monks of the Order of St Paul.
The ceremonies were all moving and well attended. During the Easter Vigil one adult was received into the full communion of the Catholic Church. She has been journeying with the RCIA catechists and her sponsor since September 2013. She chose the name of Rita as her Confirmation name, which is appropriate in this Augustinian parish, as Rita belonged to an Augustinian community of religious sisters.
The first one hundred years of the parish of St Thomas of Villanova, Mareeba, has been penned into book form by parishioner Jeanette Hartley. The title of the book, “Where the Pelican Builds,” pays tribute to the Irish Augustinians who travelled so far from their homeland in Ireland to carve out what would become a diocese in Far North Queensland, with Mareeba being part of that diocese.
The book’s title links with Saint Thomas of Villanova himself, who featured a pelican on his episcopal coat of arms.
The book has 211 pages, and is filled with anecdotes of the parish of Mareeba, profiles of all the priests who have ministered there in one hundred years, details of the three churches, the work of the Sisters of Mercy, the many (and changing) committees and societies throughout the years and the celebrations, both religious and secular.
It was written as a three-way tribute to the Augustinians, the Sisters of Mercy and the parishioners.
Interspersed with many photos and naming well-known and hardworking families of the one hundred years, the book is proving to be popular with its readers.
Copies are available at St Thomas’s Priory, P.O. Box 308, Mareeba, Qld 4880.
For mail orders, please calculate the cost of the book ($25.00) plus postage: mailing it Australia-wide costs $3.50 postage, and to overseas by airmail involves $25.00 postage. Cheques should be made out to St Thomas’s Catholic Church.