MASS AT NORTHERN BEACHES Mass was celebrated in the Eimeo Road School until the first St. Brendan’s church was built in the 1930’s at Eimeo. This was a very modest building but it served the Catholic Community of Eimeo, Black’s Beach and Bucasia well for a long time! Eimeo residents were alerted to the imminent start of mass by the ringing of a school bell. The parishioners were local farming families and attendance was swollen by families using their beach houses during school holidays.
Mass was also celebrated in a church hall at Bucasia, and for a time Sunday mass alternated between the two until finally Bucasia became the only Mass Centre, and the Eimeo Church and land was sold in the 1970’s. Space was still a problem, as the centre in Symons Avenue was no bigger than that at Eimeo, and the population kept on growing. Towards 1983, with the advent of 6pm Saturday Mass, parishioners would bring their own chairs to celebrate Mass at sunset on the spare allotment next to the hall. Father McAlister had purchased 10 acres of land in 1969 /70, and in 1986 St Brendan’s Church as we know it today was built. The land purchased was part of a larger holding known as The Orphanage, as it incorporated the land on which Father Bucas, the first Catholic Parish Priest appointed to Mackay, had established an orphanage in 1874. The large cup with which Father Bucas broke his fast after celebrating Sunday masses is displayed near the confessional at the church.
The new Church enjoyed a close association with the recently established Emmanuel School, and students regularly were responsible for the liturgy, including the music, and class Masses were held at the Church. Fr Joe Carroll, the first priest at St. Brendan’s, drew attention to the church by flying kites.
In the design of the church, the predominant requirement was that the completed building be well ventilated and sympathetic to the surrounding landscape; however dominant enough to command significance and have a capacity to be able to accommodate overflow parishioners at holiday times of the year.
The altar furnishings, the work of Stephen Moor, a respected ecclesiastical artist of Sydney, were specifically designed and crafted to be in harmony with the architectural design of the building and with the Northern Beaches area. This was made possible through the generosity of Mrs. Rassmussen, whose family was prominent in the Eimeo area.
Although the church community has grown significantly, it still retains the close-knit sense of fellowship it has enjoyed since its early days.
HISTORY OF ST JOSEPH’S PARISH, NORTH MACKAY
Prior to 1946, The area north of the Pioneer River was part of St Patrick’s Parish, Mackay.
In 1936, the Sisters of Mercy began teaching in a private home in North Mackay.
1937 saw St Joseph’s church-School built in Canberra Street.
On 19th August 1946, the new parish of St Joseph’s North Mackay was formed. Fr “Barney” Cahill was the first parish priest. He lived in the sacristy until a presbytery was built.
In 1952, the Sisters of Mercy moved into the convent, a converted house next to the school in Canberra street.
In 1955, a new school hall was built behind the Church-school. That meant that the top floor of the older building could be used exclusively as the Parish Church.
In 1972, St Vincent de Paul Church was built at Slade Point.
On 7 November 1976, the present St Joseph’s Church in Grendon Street was blessed and opened / Fr William McAlister was parish priest at the time.
During the 70’s, St Joseph’s School had the largest enrolment in the Rockhampton Diocese.
In 1983, Emmanuel School in Baxter Drive, Mt Pleasant, began as a Prep to Year 10 school staffed by the Marist sisters for a number of years.
In 1986, the present St Brendan’s Church was built on the Mackay-Bucasia Road.
1995 saw a new presbytery and parish centre built in Grendon Street beside the church. Parish priest at the time was Fr Peter Greene.
Also in 1995, MacKillop School in Nardarmi drive, Andergrove, was opened.
In 1996, Emmanuel School became a primary school only and Holy Spirit College was established in the same grounds to cater for secondary students.
Religious Vocations from among parishioners include a SVD priest, a Sister of St Joseph, a sister of the sacred Heart and several sisters of Mercy.
The first meeting of St Joseph's Parish Pastoral Council was held in March 2000 although there had been a simpler form of Parish Council operating before this time. (August 2009)
Fr Bernard Cahill,
Fr William McAlister,
Fr Noe Hynes,
Fr Peter Greene,
Fr Don White
Fr Peter Tonti
CATHOLIC PARISHES OF NORTH MACKAY AND FARLEIGH
21 Grendon Street, North Mackay QLD 4740 PO Box 3388, North Mackay, QLD 4740 Phone: 07 4957 4855 | Fax: 4957 4208 Emergency Only: 0400 874 807 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org