Little Cathedral in the Bush marks 100 years
FOR Nanango-raised Brisbane resident George Emerson, returning to Nanango on Saturday to celebrate the centenary of the Our Lady Help of Christians church was something he chose to do without a second thought.
"I had my first communion here at this church and went to school here, too," Mr Emerson said.
"They used to serve mass in Latin in those days.
"Once the father made me write lines 50 times in Latin."
The 80-year-old, who moved away from the area in the late 1940s, said the centenary was very special to him.
"Because of the people you meet," he said.
"The last time I came for a reunion, there were people I hadn't seen for 50 years."
Mr Emerson was not the only person to return to the church to celebrate its centenary.
A group of nuns, fathers and former parishioners also returned.
Ian Graham was one parishioner who returned, travelling up with his family from Brisbane.
"My parents married here, my sister married here," Mr Graham said.
"I have a lot of memories here at this church."
Mr Graham was also a St Patrick's student, with the school located just behind the church.
"I showed my daughter through the school and reminisced about my old teachers," he said.
"Grew up at the Glenmore cattle property near Nanango, where mother still lives, but it was my first time going back into the church in a long time."
Father Stephen Camiolo, who leads the church, said it was rewarding to see so many people return to celebrate the church's centenary.
"You've touched their lives that it is important enough for them to come back," Fr Camiolo said.
He hoped in another 100 years the Nanango community would celebrate the second centenary of the church.
"The next 100 years will be similar to the future of the Catholic church as a whole, building the community, supporting the community, praying with the community, looking after all the sacraments for them," he said.
Fr Camiolo said the celebrations would not have been possible without Liz Caffery, who spent 18 months organising the celebrations as well as writing a book about the history of the church.
"The research that Liz has put into this book is outstanding," he said.
"This weekend wouldn't have happened without her stewardship and leadership."
Liz's book, The Little Cathedral in the Bush, is available now.