THE CATHOLIC Parish of St Augustine’s in Kyabram is about to celebrate the significant milestone of 140 years since the first Mass was said in 1878. Beginning in what is now Ky West, the Catholic community has been going strong, mostly centred in its present precinct in Church St, and reaching out to Tongala, Merrigum, Wyuna, and Girgarre.
Central to the 140th anniversary celebrations is the launching of a 300-page history book. This epic work has been five years in the making, led by past parishioner, Mary McCormick, and a small team of current parishioners. Kyabram Catholic Heritage — Ever Ancient Ever New, 1878-2018 is primarily a book about the people of a faith community. It incorporates the original Kyabram Catholic Heritage by Fr Michael Endicott OSA, written for the parish’s 100th anniversary in 1978, and new material garnered from documents and memories of the many people who responded to the more recent call-out for information.
The book has been described by an early reader as a “good read — interesting and varied” with a “pervasive… friendliness, warmth… and local colour.”
The individual chapters reflect the different eras, issues, and personalities of this faith community through the voices of various contributors, bringing in the names of many families who helped build the parish’s spirituality. Some chapters also touch on changes in church history, liturgy, Catholic practices, and the legacy of the Augustinians and Brigidine Sisters — both orders no longer here.
The weekend of May 12 and 13 has been set aside for festivities. On Saturday at 12pm, a bus and car pilgrimage of the original out-reaches of the parish will start off with the Angelus at St Augustine’s Church Kyabram followed by a visit to Girgarre. The group will then move on to Ky West for light refreshments and a toast to the pioneers, followed by Tongala, Wyuna, Lancaster, Merrigum, Henley, and the Kyabram Cemetery before returning to St Augustine’s at around 4.30-5pm. Bus seats (free) may be booked through the parish office 5852 1026, or people may follow in their own vehicles.
On Saturday night from 6.30pm, parishioners and visitors are invited to celebrate with dinner at the Kyabram Club where an area will be set aside for St Augustine’s community. Meals from the regular menu and drinks from the bar will be available at the usual prices. To assist catering, intending diners are requested to list names at the back of the church or inform the Kyabram Club themselves several days beforehand on 5852 2431.
On the anniversary weekend, there will be only one parish Mass, on Sunday at 10am, at St Augustine’s in Kyabram. Bishop Tomlinson will be welcomed with a guard of honour of parishioners (a reflection of a similar event in 1878). Directly after the 10am Mass, the book Kyabram Catholic Heritage – Ever Ancient Ever New, 1878-2018 will be launched and morning tea and book sales will follow.
The book price at $35 a copy has been kept as low as possible thanks to several small donations, and three larger grants — from the Kyabram Club, St Augustine’s Parish and the Augustinian Order. Remaining costs have been covered by individual interest-free loans, which will be repaid with royalties.
The history project team thanks everyone who helped in any way to bring this exciting event.