Gary Pettiford in the memorial garden, standing next to the alter he build and with part of the columbarium behind him. Photo: Stuart Fast
Gary Pettiford in the memorial garden, standing next to the alter he build and with part of the columbarium behind him. Photo: Stuart Fast

Historic church has new place for faithful to pray, reflect

ST MARY'S Catholic Church has officially opened their new columbarium and memorial garden.

A columbarium is a place to respectfully store the ashes of deceased people.

For Chairman of the parish finance council Gary Pettiford, the columbarium was necessary for the Catholic Church, as the ashes of the faithful must be placed in a sacred space close to the church.

"The idea behind it was to have a nice place where people could come, reflect and pray for their loved ones," Mr Pettiford said.

He said approximately 100 people joined the parish in opening the two new installations.

"It's very satisfying and fulfilling, and they've come from all over Queensland."

Mr Pettiford said the memorial garden was created to provide a spiritual, quiet and nice spot for parishioners.

"In the future, when someone gets interred, we will do blessing ceremonies there," he said.

Mr Pettiford the newly opened church developments had been in the works for 12 months, but had been suggested to the parish six years earlier.

"Two of our parishioners, Dennis O'Connor and Frank Burkett were the ones who really got it all going, organising and a lot of the muscle work to get it where it is today," he said.

"Father George Joseph, he's the one who has really led it, guided it and really encouraged everyone to keep going."

"It's come up really well … we like to thank everyone who have been involved with it."

"You don't have to be a Catholic … everyone one is welcome," Mr Pettiford said.



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