Dou­ble bless­ing for Hills church

The Advertiser - - NEWS - JOSEPHINE LIM AR­TI­CLES OF FAITH

ONE of the old­est churches in the Ade­laide Hills has cel­e­brated its 150th an­niver­sary along­side the open­ing of a new com­mu­nity cen­tre.

Over 70 peo­ple from the Ade­laide Hills Par­ish at­tended the cel­e­bra­tion at St Matthew’s Catholic Church at Bird­wood ear­lier this month, as Arch­bishop Philip Wil­son of­fi­cially opened the Mary O’Dea Com­mu­nity Cen­tre.

The his­tory be­hind the Shan­non St church is rooted in the con­tri­bu­tions of its par­ish- ion­ers. When Bird­wood was still named Blum­berg, the land where the church was built was bought from money do­nated by Mary O’Dea in 1865 be­fore the build­ing opened two years later. Ms O’Dea was an Ir­ish widow who mi­grated to Australia dur­ing the Great Famine and died, aged 68, one month after the church opened.

Her great, great grand­son Jim and Jack O’Dea were proud that “pi­o­neers” of the church were com­mem­o­rated.

The com­mu­nity cen­tre re­placed a trans­portable school­room at the back of ceme­tery which was used for gath­er­ings in the past 40 years.

“Gen­er­ous dona­tions from parish­ioners and phys­i­cal help paint­ing the in­te­rior and tidy­ing out­side has en­abled us fin­ish close to bud­get,” par­ish mem­ber Leon Holmes said.

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