Historical information

Yesterday was an important and historic day for the Roman Catholic community of Crossley and Koroit, in as much as it will be always associated in the memories of all con cerned with the opening of the new St. Brigid's Church, Crossley. This building is far above the average standard of sacred edifices in country towns, and is certainly superior to any ercted in this district outside the churches in the two larger centres - Warrnambool and Koroit. The style of architecture chosen is a free treatment of the Romanesque, which is something quite original in the Western District. This noble style, from which, with its near re lative the Byzantine, spring the great Gothic school of architecture, is characterised by a special charm of its own, one of its chief features being graceful and sweeping circular curves in roof, window heads and in the ar rangenent of the ground plan. The building is of brick finished off with true Romanesqiue pillared pinnacles in concrete and plaster, the brick and concrete producing a pleasing contrast. The main characteristic of the front is a large rose window filled with Romlanesque circular tracery, and below a bold porch and entrance. The two sides are pierced with long circular-headed windows between graceful buttresses and the wall line is pleasingly broken by the projecting bays of the confessionals and also by the vestries. The main building is 80 feet by 30 feet' and the Sanctuary is spacious and semi-circular in shape, and lighted by three windows. The interior of the church is most artistic. The ceiling is semi-circular and of fibrous plaster in ornate designs. All the windows are lead lighted, throwing a rich and mellow harmony of' color throughout the interior and the white wails, mouldings, architraves and other fibrous plaster decorations: are further relieved by the rich coloring: in the stations of.the Cross arrranged around the nave. The central window of the Sanctuary contains a splendidly executed stained glass representation of St. Brigid. At.the western end is a room gallery. The altar is a choice piece of Gothic woodwork, in light, soft coloring, and there are two altars on either side of the Sanctuary in oak, and above whlch are very fine colored figures of Christ; and the Madonna. On either side of the altar are life-size figures of angels holding high brass candalabra. The whole of the furnishings of the church are on a sumptuous scale, and the edifice reflects credit on all concerned. The church can seat nearly 500 people. The architect was Mr. A. A. Fritsch. of Melbourne, and the contractors Messrs F. and E. Deagne, of North Fitzroy. The contract price for the building was £5,500.
After the cereimony of solemnly blesssing the church was performed by His Lordship the Bishop of the Diocese, Dr. Higgins, assisted by His Grace the Coadjutor Archbishop of Melbourne. Dr. Mannix, the great gatheiring from all parts of the district entered the church, which was soon completely filled. The members of the H.A.C.B.S. attended wearing their green and gold regalia, and acted as a 'guard of honor' to the Co-adjlutor Arclhbishop and Bishop. Mass was celebrated by the Rev. Father Phelan, of Koroit, and a feature of the solemn service was the singing of a choir which consisted of picked voices from St. Carthage's choir, with friends from Warrnam bool and assisted by some of the mem bers of the Koroit choir, with Miss Logan as organist and Mr. Arthur H. Renwick as conductor. They rendered the music in splendid style throghonut. The "Kyrie," "Gloria." "Agnus Dei' and Dona Nobis" were from Farmer's Mass in B flat, and the "Credo" and "Sanctus" from Webbe's Mass in G. The soloists in the Mass were Mrs. Ryan, the Misses McEntee. Miss Katie O'Brien. and Messrs. J. M. Crowley, W. J. Callaghan; B. McEntee and W. Mahony. The chorus sang with great precision, special attention being paid to at tack. At the offertory Mrs. Dan Ryan gave a beautiful rendering of Gounod's "Ava Maria." After the Elevation that fine duet "Tantum Ergo." by Rossi, was sung by Messrs. Crowley and Renwick in an artistic manner, their fine voices blending splendidly. During the collection, Mr. Renwick sang with much feeling that devotional solo, "Lead Thou Me On,", after which Mr Crowley gave .an ex cellent rendering of Weissi's "0 Salu taris Hostia;" and the choir sang several hymns." It might here be mentioned that at the request of Fa ther Kerin, the same choir will repeat the music.at the Koroit Church on Sunday next, on the occasion of the ceremnly of laying the foundation stone of the cormpletion of the church. Dr. Mannix preachled the sermon for the occasion, taking his text from St. Luke first 11 verses. He re viewed the Gospel story of Christ preaching to the multitude from a boat on Lake Gennesaret and the miraculous draught of fish. The obedi ence of the poor fishermen in casting their nets at Christ's bidding was richly rewarded, and the miraculous occurrence was a striking example of what was to happen when Christ established His Church and built it up on those twelve apostles. When they came to think of it, nothing so re markable and marvellous had happened before or since in the history of mankind. The world at that time was for the most part a Pagan world steeped in iniquity and sin. The chosen people of God had God's re velation, but they worshipped with their lips and not with their hearts. When Christ was to establish His Church upon earth and leave an or gantisation that would continue His work, did He select learned men, powerful men, rich men, or a time that would seem propituous? No. He selected twelve poor, igorant simple fishermen, without money, power, learning or anything calculated to enable them to do anything striking in the world's history. The success of the first morning after pentecost was not confined to those first days when the plentitude of the Holy Ghost sat upon the .Apostles, but it continued age after age until the whole world was brought within the sphere of ac tion of the Church. Greece, Rome Europe Asia and America, and now Australia had been brought into the net. This must be a consolation to them all as well as it was to him (the preacher), when they remembered that they came from a land which of all others had been faithful to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It was a consolation to them that in that great work that had been accomplished in bringing men into the meshes of the Church, and bringing them to God the nation to which they belontged had taken so great a part. Their religion flourished in England, Scotland, America and Australia. Surely it was due to the sons of St. Patrick, the sons and daughters of Ireland to find consolation in these great facts might It might seem hard that so many had to leave their native-land for England, Scotland, America and Australia. But if hard it was the means of keeping the Catholic faith living in England and Scotland. If to-day the Irish Catholics and Catholics of Irish de scent were taken out of the English and Scotch population there would be little left of the true Church of God. It seemed hard to emigrate to distant lands, but the result had been the new magnificent church in the United States, the flourishing churches in Canada and South Africa. Those Irish emigrants were a cornparatively small band. Perhaps they had not the learning of other nations. Certainly they had not the wealth and it did not fall to their lot to have the power of the sword, but God was with them, and the faith they took from Ireland flourished in those distant lands. In this fair land of Australia they had a glorious herit age handed down from the pioneer Irish Catholics, who came to this fair Austral land. There was a time when those who were opposed to God and God's Church,thought that Australia should be a wholly Protestant land. They had lived to see whether God or His enemies were the stronger. They had lived to see that those who in distant days would have stamped out the Catholic religion in Australia, had not prevailed. Their names had been forgotten because of their persecution of the Catholic Church, and they had lived - to see the glorious success that now, in every part of the Common wealth, rested upon the Catholic Church in Australia. Might God bless that Church and those Irish people, and the people of Irish descent, who had built it up. In that locality, and there was no place in.the Common wealth where the Catholic Church was held in higher esteem, the people would always be faithful to God and His Church. That beautiful building, and all it signified in loyalty and faithfulness, was a credit and a consolation to the Bishop and people of the diocese, to the architect who had done his work so artistically and skil fully. to the priests and the zealous administration of the parish. There was surely hope and inspiration in that day's celebration, that as time went on the Catholic faith would sink deeper and deeper into ther coming generation, and that the Catholic progress of the past 50 years would be small in comparison to the great progress of the future. He congratulated the Bishop priests and people who had raised that temple. He congratulated the people of Crossley; upon their generosity and self-sacrifice, and he prayed that God's blessing and the blessing of St. Brigid would rest upon them; their children and children's children. And when those who had received the sacraments and had been instructed in that Church were called before the Judgment Seat he pray ed that not one would be missing, and St. Peter aind St. Brigid would be able to count them all into the en joyment .of Eternal bliss.
The Rev. Father Kerin, Adninistra tor of the Parish, after the collection, read a lengthy list of the principal donations, headed by the Bishop, Dr. Higgins, with £250. All the furnish ings of the Church were also donations, and the Coadjutor-Archbishop added £5 to the list. The Rev. Father Kerin stated that the total to hand was £1245/10/7, which was an other proof of the generosity of the Crossley and district people. The amount previously received in donations was £1077/3. They started buildiing with a credit balance of £262 10/5 and ther now had a debit balance of £2,728/18/5. The total cost of the Church was £6,250, so that they would see the greater part of the indebtedness had already been wiped out. The Bishop (Dr. Higgins) delivered a brief address, in the course of which he congratulated the priests and people upon the completion of their magnificent Church. He congratulated the people on their magnificent generosity. He expressed his of deep indebtedness to the Coadjutor Archbishop of Melbourne for the services he had rendered to them. He had attended at considerable sacrifice to himself, and they were extremely grateful for the presence of so distinguished a champion who had shown such zeal and interest in their Church in this new land. He (the Bishop) trusted that his splendid talents would long be devoted to the defence of the Church." (Warrnambul Standard, 02 July 1914)

Physical description

Digital panoramic image of the interior of St Brigid's Crossley.