Mass marks a new era for cathedral

Geoff VivianMidwest Times

Some 500 people turned up for a thanksgiving Mass at Geraldton’s newly-renovated Catholic cathedral.

Father Robert Cross, who was the diocesan project manager, said the Mass was to thank the community for supporting the project.

“(It) was about getting our cathedral back to an operating church,” he said.

“We gave thanks to God and to those who are perhaps not even part of our church community who generously contributed to the cathedral and to thank the architect and builders and subcontractors.”

Father Cross said papal awards were conferred on project secretary Gerry Eastman and chairman Bernard Brown.

“Through their involvement, they have been the driving force from the laity together with their committee and they put in a heroic effort,” he said.

The procession makes it’s way through the large crowd to the alter during the Celebratory Mass at St Francis Xavier Cathedral, Geraldton.
Camera IconThe procession makes it’s way through the large crowd to the alter during the Celebratory Mass at St Francis Xavier Cathedral, Geraldton. Credit: Peter Fiorenza
Leroy Shiowsaki plays the didgeridoo as part of the Welcome to Country at the Celebratory Mass at St Francis Xavier Cathedral, Geraldton.
Camera IconLeroy Shiowsaki plays the didgeridoo as part of the Welcome to Country at the Celebratory Mass at St Francis Xavier Cathedral, Geraldton. Credit: Peter Fiorenza
Chair of the Board of St Francis Xavier Cathedral Precinct Project, Bernard Brown, addresses the crowd at the Celebratory Mass.
Camera IconChair of the Board of St Francis Xavier Cathedral Precinct Project, Bernard Brown, addresses the crowd at the Celebratory Mass. Credit: Peter Fiorenza
Mass at St Francis Xavier Cathedral.
Camera IconMass at St Francis Xavier Cathedral. Credit: Peter Fiorenza

Father Cross said Bishop Justin Bianchini organised the papal honour, known as the “Cross Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice”.

“It not a knighthood but a secular honour given out by the Pope,” he said.

“It was a grand occasion and we have brought the cathedral back to probably what it was on Hawes’ time.”

Father Cross was referring to the architect-priest John Cyril Hawes, who first built the cathedral.

“I realised from my research into the building that Monsignor Hawes left Geraldton within a year after he finished,” he said.

“He talked about the exhaustion and I realised what he was going through.”

Father Cross said for him, the Mass marked a “release”.

“I’ve probably never been busier in my life,” he said.

“It’s been a very full-on experience and it’s good that we got to the stage that we could open it, although there is still a number of things that can be done.

“In the next month, we’ll be putting the finishing touches to the building.”

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