1. Adult Education

Adult Education has been an ongoing, but somewhat spasmodic, ministry in the parish for a very long time. At meetings of parishioners the desire for appropriate courses is expressed as a high priority but the support for advertised programs is sparse. Somehow the right mix of time and topic does not seem to have been found. The Institute of Faith also offers courses for the whole of the Archdiocese in central places and some parishioners attend them from time to time.

Fr Doyle called a number of meetings to explain the changes that were occurring in the Church following the changes from Vatican II and these would have been classed as Adult Education. Also, it must be remembered, that the Sabbath sermon or homily is the most common and widely heard form of education which, hopefully, reaches all the active members of the parish.

In the parish bulletin of 5th August 1979 a four week course on Catholic Social Justice for home discussion groups was advertised. The article mentioned that two years previously (1977) there had been similar discussion groups on the topic of Ministry. Unfortunately nothing more about these meetings has been found.

Lenten Programs

This annual program began in the 1980s and could have grown out of the programs mentioned above and was probably started by Fr Brian Heenan. They have continued without a break till the present, annually drawing from 30 to a 100 people in several groups on different days and nights.

The meeting consists of a 11/2 hour meeting in someone’s home or the Parish Centre with between 6 and 12 people, who gather to pray, read scripture, tell their own stories and discuss their faith. There is one meeting each week in the season of Lent so that the course is a short one. In the early days Fr Brian made tape recordings for the participants to use as source material. Later, booklets printed by the Archdiocese have been available to supply material, guide and make suggestions for discussion.

Francis Ross described the course as designed to make “me put time aside, to forget daily life issues and to be exposed to other people’s Lenten experience and to vocalize my Lenten journey.” She expands the idea further “I began to hear and see 20th Century Jesus and Mary stories in the very people I had met and celebrated Mass with most weekends”.

Kate McLean gave another aspect “The stories each year challenge us to move out of our comfort zones and see life from a different point of view.”

Life Long Learning

This organization grew out of the 1991/92 parish discernment process which tried to assess the needs of parishioners over the following five years. One of these needs was that of Adult Education. A task force was set up to examine the ways in which this need could be met and decided to adopt the Pastoral Ministry Leadership Formation course which was divided into a series of 8 week courses over the next 2 years.

The first unit was a retreat weekend in June 1994 followed by an 8 week course on Christianity in the Church and concluded with a Spirituality weekend in October.

The Lenten Program for 1995 was designed to fit in with the LLL program with the subject of Easter People in which famous Australian’s were studied. This was followed in June by an 8 week course on “Morality and the Sacraments”.

The LLL group finally established a Resource Centre with a borrowing library in the Parish Centre to provide ongoing current resources for the parishioners.

Prayer & Book Groups (Marlene Eales)

During the 1980s and 1990s several small groups developed from the first one started by the Pastoral Associate, Sr Judith Murphy, in the late 1980s. A group of 10 women used to meet at Leigh Osborne’s home each fortnight. Later they moved to the house in Zillmere Road where the Presentation sisters lived.

These meetings were held for our own personal growth as Sr Judith maintained that people who were heavily involved in parish ministries should be ministered to as well. A couple of times a year some days were spent at Manly Retreat House with Sr Judith. These mini retreats were a beautiful time spent in lovely surroundings with special friends. We always came home with renewed vigor for our activities as they were a great opportunity for personal growth on our faith journey. Because of this we wanted to keep meeting after Sr Judith left and we met once a month to study a program or book that someone recommended.

When Sr Judith left and Sr Moira Sheedy took her place the group continued to meet at Marlene Eales’ home where they studied various books such as Michael Morwood’s “Tomorrow’s Catholic.”

The group still meets (2003) in the Parish Centre and is studying works by such authors as Bishop John Selby Spong, Bishop John Heaps, Fr Frank Anderson and the Gospel of Mark.

2. One Drink Too Many

By Al Coe & Others

Through the fuzziness of an alcohol affected brain, constant hangovers and "hair of the dog" cures, it gradually dawned on me that my life was an unmanageable mess. The cost was becoming unbearable in terms of lost dignity, self respect and friends. I hated myself. Who could love an individual who woke up fully clothed, under a shower, in a suit stained with vomit, an individual who refused to face life, left unpaid bills unopened and a trail of bouncing cheques? My family pleaded or lectured, the community branded me a hopeless drunk. Efforts to cut back on drinking failed and I became full of self pity and remorse; in my own mind a person of little worth - a weakling unable to cope with life. This was the situation when I was railroaded into Alcoholics Anonymous. A knowing Sergeant of Police saw this option as preferable to booking me for "drink driving".

At the first meeting of AA which I attended, I found myself in the company of some who had been drinking companions in the past. Here they were sober, clean and full of hope - some still struggling with their problem but most looking with hope to the future. It was obvious from the people present that alcoholism is no respecter of persons. There were people from a wide cross-section of life at that meeting; a shoemaker, a dentist, a carpenter, a bus driver, a lawyer, a labourer, a mechanic and a priest.

I was told that alcoholism was a disease - with physical, mental and spiritual characteristics. It is incurable but can be arrested. What a relief it was to know that I had a disease and it wasn't my fault. So, what was the answer?

I was told "One drink is too many for an alcoholic, and a thousand not enough." The answer to arresting the disease was not to have that first drink, ever. Take one day at a time. Don't live life regretting yesterday or fearing tomorrow. It may never come. Live life one day at a time and live your single day at a time without a drink. I gave it a try and it worked. The philosophy of my life is now wrapped up in a single prayer, answered for me, and recited at AA meetings throughout the world:

God grant me the Serenity

To Accept the things I cannot change,

Courage to change the things I can,

And the Wisdom to know the difference.

If you are an alcoholic you can get assistance through Alcoholics Anonymous but it is necessary to admit, particularly to yourself, that you are alcoholic. This is the first step on a philosophical and spiritual stairway of twelve steps to a happy sobriety.

Alcoholics Anonymous is defined as a fellowship of men and women who share their experience, strength and hope with each other that they may solve their common problem and help others recover from alcoholism. There are no dues or fees for AA membership; we are self supporting through our own contributions. AA is not allied with any sect, denomination, politics, organization or institution; does not wish to engage in any controversy, neither endorses nor opposes any causes. Our Primary Purpose is to stay sober and help others to achieve sobriety.

In Zillmere the first two meetings of AA were held in a private home in 1965 and after several moves came to St. Flannan's in the late 1980s where it is still located.

Meetings of the Zillmere Group of Alcoholics Anonymous are held every Wednesday at 8pm in the St. Vincent de Paul room. The AA meeting lasts for one hour and is followed by a cup of tea or coffee and a chat with one another. The attendance varies widely with the usual number being around 12 to 15 persons. We use the 12 step program which was first drawn up in about 1935 and has remained unchanged since it works so well.

Incidentally, my "one day at a time" has totalled up to 361/2 years and I have not worked up enough thirst for that one drink too many, yet!

3. Antioch

John & Carol Flanigan with Marlene & Rick Eales:

The Antioch movement was introduced from Sydney. It was established as a ministry of youth, for youth and by youth, to interact with each other, to face the pressures of the day and express their Christianity with each other. Each group was under the guidance of the parish priest and adults in the roll of a parent couple. Once a group formed, it was then expected and encouraged to reach out to other parishes.

It was initiated by Fr Brian Heenan in September 1984 in St Flannan’s Parish. He rang Carole & John Flanigan and asked if they would accompany a group of Year 11 youths for a few hours at an Antioch meeting on a forthcoming Friday night at St John Fisher College. The ‘meeting’ was a full weekend run by the Bracken Ridge Parish, and included a group of youths from Sandgate parish.

The weekend was so successful, the youths from St Flannan’s hosted their first weekend for other Parishes in February 1985 during the infamous power restrictions of that year and again in September 1985.Weekly meetings were held after Sunday evening mass and attracted large numbers where youths listened to a talk by a fellow Antiocher, expressed their feelings about their faith and their everyday living, listened to music, played games and shared prayer. St Flannan’s youth continued to hold weekends over the Labour Day holiday weekend in May each year until 1992.

The Antioch group attended workshops that helped them to prepare liturgies for Sunday evening mass and led to the introduction of several Rock masses held in our church. These were strongly supported by our Priests and the youth sang, played musical instruments, dramatized the Gospels and performed liturgical dances.

During that time a large number of St Flannan’s youth were involved for varying periods, with a resulting growth of strong friendships formed within the group that have lasted to the present.

The weekends involved a lot of parish support in the provision of food and accommodation for the youth involved. The billeting and feeding of some 70 plus teenagers was no mean feat. Wooden crosses presented to the young people at the celebration mass at the end of the weekend were also made by generous parishioners. Antioch provided an opportunity for the youth to become involved in activities such as organizing and running the Coffee shop at the fete each year until 1991, Rosies support group for schoolies week, Red Shield appeals, Forty Hour famine, etc.

Other parent couples to join Antioch and offer many hours of assistance with much dedication were John & Bev Cathcart, Gordon & Jane Atkinson, Terri Lusk and Ann Berton, Paul and Elizabeth Kors, and Justin & Narelle Cathcart.

Up until its last meeting in 1993, many hundreds of our youth found the Living Christ through their participation in Antioch. It is an interesting fact that Narelle Cathcart, nee Northfield, the last parent support person, was in the original group to attend on that Friday night in 1984.

The movement ceased operating at St Flannan’s in 1993; due to lack of members to organize the renewal weekend necessary to train new members. Those members who were still involved at that time joined with the group at St Dympna’s which is still continuing in 2003.

4. Caring Community

Anne Lawrence, Marie Kinne, Val Sheahan, Marlene Eales, Tom McCarthy write:

St Flannan’s Caring Community, as it was originally called, came into being in 1979 on an invitation from Centacare. Fr Heenan and Sr Bernice organised a steering Committee at the home of Chic Rossberg. This was attended by Anne Lawrence and Val Sheahan both of whom attended a six week course at the Catholic Centre, St Patrick’s in the Valley. From this start, many St Flannan’s people interested in caring and sharing attended an information day. After local training sessions the Caring Community was ready to go.

The original Co-ordinators were Val Sheahan and Auriel Perkins (Visiting), Anne Lawrence and Clare Foxwell (Home Help), Bernadette Fitzgerald and Judy Thompson (Transport), Ruby and Michael Lavery (Handyman).There was an overwhelming response to the call for volunteers. In all, there were 185 helpers from St Flannan’s and 30 from St Matthais’ Anglican Church. This was ecumenism in action.

The duties included providing meals in emergencies, baby sitting to allow young mothers some recreation time, house cleaning for those recuperating after hospitalisation, visiting the housebound, mowing lawns, grocery shopping, fixing taps and other odd jobs. A special service was providing transport to Prince Charles and Royal Brisbane hospitals.

Eileen Guy and Clair Walsh took a lady to visit her husband who was in prison at Wacol. While the lady was inside they located a pleasant spot with plenty of trees where several workmen were busy. They were able to watch the men while they had their lunch. Soon a Police car pulled alongside of them and asked why they were parked in a restricted area. The ladies told their story, which the Police believed and then pointed out that the workers were prisoners. They finished their lunch in an unrestricted area.

There was the case of the man whose wife had died and he found it very difficult to cope. The ladies prepared lots of meals and goodies for some time, but all good things come to an end. Very soon after, the sorrowing man married a new wife and lived happily ever after!

The Caring Community was, and, is basically caring for the spiritual/religious needs of the elderly.

A special part of the caring Community was the monthly mass and morning tea which started in 1980 and was attended by many parishioners. Nudgee boys also attended and each boy was assigned an elderly person to look after at the mass and morning tea. It was a great success as it made the sick and elderly really feel part of the community. Three times a year there would be community singing with children from the school and three times there would be a Whizz-Bang Cent Auction. Four of these masses were anointing masses at which those who wanted a blessing for healing approached the altar and Father would anoint them with oil and pray over them.

There was a kitchen staff of one man, who did the washing up each month, and 24 ladies. There were four ladies rostered on each month. On the driving roster there were 25, many of whom did a second run. Each driver sat with the people they brought and looked after them.

In 1981 the first picnic was held at North Dam, and it was such a success that follow-up picnics at various locations were held every August. Some locations were Scarborough, the Boondall Entertainment Centre and when the school bus was sold, Shorncliffe. The men would deliver tables and chairs to the picnic area and then prepare and cook the sausage sizzle. There would be guessing the number of jelly beans in a bottle, broom throwing, which Mrs Barnes often won if she didn’t decapitate someone in the process, egg and spoon races, tunnel ball, wheelchair races and more.

Another highlight was the Christmas party and Concert provided by the school children. Guests came from Symes Grove, Holy Spirit Home, Eventide and Yalambee Lodge. The dedication of Fr Heenan, the assistant priests and the large band of volunteers made the Caring Community a great success.

Typical of these events was the 1991Christmas party with about 150 people present. They assembled in the Church where they sang Carols and were entertained by the school children who sang and performed. They then adjourned to the hall where trestle tables had been set up, and they enjoyed a lunchtime party. The food and drinks were supplied by the Parish or made by the volunteers who ensured that everyone was looked after.

Care and Concern

In March 1990, the name was changed to Care and Concern. This was to differentiate from the monthly Caring Community Masses which had separate co-ordinators, and also to come into line with the many other Care and Concern groups in the Archdiocese.

Care and Concern was mainly concerned with providing for a person’s material needs and it looked after the functions of Visitation of the housebound, Home help, Transport and the Handyman service.

The monthly masses for the aged continued, but over the years the number of persons from the homes has declined due to several factors:

About ten years ago the Aged Care facilities employed specific staff, known firstly as Recreation Officers, and latterly as Diversional Therapists, to care for the social and entertainment needs of their residents;

Health and Safety regulations came into force which makes it mandatory to have one carer from the Aged Care Facilities for every three persons on an outing. Such numbers of staff were not available;

Relatives often have to give permission before outsiders can take the person out from the retirement home;

Insurance costs have risen along with the general costs.

With the falling numbers attending the masses it was decided, about three years ago, to reduce the frequency of these masses to four per year. At about the same time, the attendance of school children to entertain the aged was difficult for organisers to arrange because of school priorities. Thus the Anointing masses continue with attendance of between 25 and 35 parishioners most of whom seek anointing. A cup of tea and biscuit follows in the hall.

As with the masses, so the Annual Picnic gradually declined with the last few being at Boondall Entertainment Centre. Finally they were confined to the parish hall with a sausage sizzle and entertainment provided by volunteers who go from place to place entertaining the seniors.

As demand fell, the functions of Home Help and Handyman were dropped but Transport and Visitation are still available.

Transport is provided for people who live in their own homes and have to go to the doctor, shopping, etc. However the calls for transport have declined and only a few have been made in 2002. It is not altogether clear why this decline has taken place. One of the reasons may be the increased activity of other agencies such as Veterans’ Affairs, Red Cross, Blue Nurses, and Service Clubs etc. It is also possible that because so many people have their own cars, or they use the Council special transport for the elderly, to do their shopping they do not have much need for extra help.

Visiting of the housebound continues but at a much reduced rate with only two calls up to October 2002. The possible reason for the decline is that groups such as the ministers of the Eucharist, the Legion of Mary and St V de Paul are all involved in visitation.

Thus the organisation may have run its course as many things have changed in the 22 years since it started, such as the Health & Safety legislation and the insurance crisis. Also, it is worth noting that many of the people who staffed it are now elderly and some need looking after themselves. Many families have both parents working today, so that the pool of volunteers is smaller than it was years ago.

Co-ordinators of Caring

1979 - 82 Anne Lawrence & Val Sheanan 1995 – 96 John Smith

1982 – 83 Claire Walsh & Eileen Guy 1997 – 99 Del Ashton & Aileen Bennett

1984 – 89 Jean O’Neill 1999 - 01 Mary Lakey

1989 – 92 Leigh Osborne

1992 – 94 Joan Sweeney

5. Catechists

Thelma Stewart recalls that she was in the Legion of Mary during the 1960s when it was decided to go into the State Schools to teach Religious Education to the Catholic children. In 1970 Fr Doyle regularly took 4 lady volunteers into All Hallows for training as Catechists. After training, Thelma started at Zillemere North State School (Now called Taigum State School) which is just across Beams Road from St Flannan’s. Thelma is still teaching 33 years later.

Jan O’Brien writes in Shalom Dec 1993: Religious Education in government schools is a very important and rewarding ministry in which the St Flannan’s community has long been involved.

In the early days the Catechists taught only the Catholic children. Approximately 14 years ago Fr Heenan met with various ministers in the local area and they decided to use a co-operative program called “Religion in Life”. It is still being used.

The move to co-operative teaching was a positive one as it fostered greater fellowship between the Catechists of different denominations. Also, because the Catechist takes over the whole class there is no time lost with children moving from room to room as happened previously.

Children from St Flannan’s parish who are attending government schools and who have not made their first Communion etc, are given extra instruction after school if they wish to receive the sacraments.

St Flannan’s Catechists teach at both Taigum and Boondall schools, the classes are 30 minutes each and preparation time is about an hour. The only requirement for a person to be a Catechist is a willingness to share with the children their Christian faith and love of God, and a commitment to attend classes every week. At present there 25 catechists from St. Flannan’s working in the above two schools.

In Dec 2001 Chris Campanaris principal of Boondall State School wrote:

Every Tuesday 23 volunteer Religious Education teachers representing Anglican, Uniting Church, Church of Christ and Catholic Churches teach lessons from an ecumenical Christian religious education program as part of Religion in Life Curriculum. Through this program the teachers are helping students become good human beings with a sense of caring, a feeling of compassion and recognition that all people share a common humanity. Furthermore, they are carrying on the tradition written in the famous hymn of the English Catholic theologian, John Newman; Lead kindly light, amid th’encircling gloom.

Jan O’Brien continues: In the year 2003, 53% of Catholic children in Brisbane now attend government schools and Catechists are now known as Religious Education Teachers.

Most of the 27 RE teachers from St Flannan’s Parish teach at Boondall Sate School. RE teachers are now required to undertake some training and Brisbane Catholic Education Office offer many in-service days, a special Mass and a Retreat Day each year. There is also training fun by an ecumenical team and assistance is given by State Government advisers.

Over the years our RE Team, which includes members of the Church of Christ, Uniting and Anglican Churches, has developed into quite a professional outfit with great team spirit. We have integrated well into the schools and have the full support of both Principals and staff.

6. Coffee Brigade

The Ecumenical Coffee Brigade was started by an ex-Anglican nun, Louisa Toogood, in about 1970. On her way to mass one morning, she noticed some homeless men on the street and was repelled. But, on reflection, the words “In as much as you didn’t – you didn’t to Me” began to haunt her and she resolved to do something practical to help these people.

She started with a picnic basket of food and several thermos flasks of coffee in the back of her old Morris Minor car. The first day she found one taker - by the end of the month 325 takers had found her and the Coffee Brigade was under way.

Soon the Salvation Army and St Vincent de Paul Society began to help and the name was changed from St John’s Cathedral Coffee Brigade to The Ecumenical Coffee Brigade. A specially equipped van was bought and eventually an old Queenslander at Spring Hill was acquired to use as headquarters where food could be prepared.

Today the service receives a Government grant, but what really keeps it going are the private donations and voluntary contributions of its supporters.

Parishioners of St Flannan’s became involved through the actions of one of them who happened to see a documentary on Louisa Toogood and thought she could help. Her involvement began in about 1987 when she contacted the Presentation sisters at Clayfield, some of whom were already involved.

The Brigade works in groups of four, two on food preparation and two on the van distributing the food and coffee. She soon found out that they were always short of volunteers and so started to look around for some bodies at St Flannan’s. She soon found enough to form a group, and then another group. After consulting with Fr Ashley Warbrooke, an appeal was made and the number of volunteers from the parish rose. Later, after an article in Shalom, the number of helpers increased to about 30.

The volunteers spend about three hours, in addition to travelling time, each month or two at the coal face. Over the years a strong sense of camaraderie has developed and this assists greatly in keeping the groups operating.

7. Deanery - Shaping and Staffing

Kate McLean writes:


In 1984 the Archdiocese formed the parishes into local clusters with a senior priest as the Dean to act as a chairperson. Each parish sends a representative to the local Deanery. Each Deanery sends a representative to the monthly meetings of the Deanery Pastoral Council. St Flannan’s was a part of the North Coast Deanery with Bevan Gallagher as the first parish representative, and Fr John Dobson as the first Dean.

With 30 parishes in the North Coast Deanery, it was decided to split into two groups and

St Flannan’s became part of the Brisbane North East Deanery with Fr Peter Gillam as

Dean. In 1999 Fr Peter Luton became Dean, with Kate McLean as the representative for

St Flannan’s.

The Shaping and Staffing of the local Parishes was planned and decided by the local section of the Deanery, rather than by the Archdiocese. It was the first time that parishioners were directly involved in the future planning and staffing of the local Parishes.

From February 1996 the parishes of Aspley, Bracken Ridge/Bald Hills, Brighton, Geebung, Sandgate and Zillmere began to meet as a Pastoral Area group. St Flannan’s representatives were Fr John Kilinko, Sr Moira Sheedy, Kate McLean, with sound financial input from Tom McCarthy.

The task was to come up with a Model of Ministry to present to Archbishop John Bathersby that would best serve the needs of our cluster of parishes in the future. Each parish group looked at the same issues and prepared a report. These issues included plant and setting, parish activities, role of key groups, financial position and resources, and key strengths, issues and directions.

The group met many times to work through the documents and to find the most suitable model that would meet their own needs, as well as the needs of the Pastoral Area as a whole. It was important to recognize that each Parish was a strong faith community and needed to maintain its own identity. Parishes had different levels of debt but all were financially secure. It was noted and agreed that the Pastoral Area divided naturally into two areas containing three parishes each – 1. Bracken Ridge/Bald Hills, Brighton, Sandgate 2. Aspley, Geebung and Zillmere.

Under the guidance of Archdiocesan facilitators Jack Hill and Beth Mayne, the group chose Model A. In this model, each parish would have a Pastoral Assistant and Staff. Sandgate & Brighton to share one priest; Geebung & Aspley to share one priest; Bald Hills/Bracken Ridge one priest; Zillmere one priest. Thus there would be six parishes with six Pastoral Assistants, six Staffs and four priests.

The option of having a Pastoral Associate, or a Pastoral director, would depend on the needs of each Parish or cluster and the finances available.

Pastoral Director is a person, other than a priest, who is entrusted with the leadership and pastoral care of a parish community.

Pastoral Associate is a person who assists the priest, or pastoral director, in the leadership of the parish and shares the responsibility for pastoral care.

The report was finalised in April 1997 and forwarded to Archbishop Bathersby. Model A was accepted and while all 6 Priests were still working in their parishes no immediate change was to take place.

Since then Brighton and Sandgate have become two parishes with a shared pastor, with Pastoral Associates at each parish to support Fr Stratford. The model chosen in 1997 is still relevant for the shaping and staffing of the local parishes into the future.

8. Diversity of cultures within the parish

Many people mentioned below.

Fr Greene used to refer to the parishioners as the League of Nations because of the range of nationalities represented. There would have been a lot of Australian born, with a goodly mix of Irish, Italian and the general grouping called New Australians.

This latter group came from many European countries, often as Displaced Persons, after World War II. Many of them had been taken by the Nazis as slave labourers to Germany during the war. Others were refugees, from many lands, displaced by the armies which had ranged over Europe. It is unlikely that there would have been many Asian people in the area as the White Australia policy was still in force.

At the present time a much wider range of nationalities is found in the parish. As the earlier sources of immigrants began to diminish we turned more to Eastern Europe, and then, when the White Australia policy was scrapped, to Asia and the Pacific. The early arrivals have grown in number and newer arrivals have built up the Zillmere “United Nations”.

According to the 1996 Australian Census the people living in the Zillmere area come from about 40 different nations with the oldest being the Australian Aboriginals and the latest from the Sudan in Africa.

From this complex intermixture of people I have drawn a few examples to illustrate the amazing kaleidoscope of Zillmere, Australia, 2003. And the story has only just begun.


In 1949 Marcelle Rouaen arrived in Australia from Belgium, the Cockpit of Europe. He went to work as a joiner in Nambour, later moving to Zillmere where he worked with a French construction firm. In 1951 he was able to bring out his family, wife Judit and children Denise, Jeannine, Andre, Robert, Anny, Rita and Jose. Marcelle was an artisan accomplished in wood carving and it is his unique work in Silky Oak that we see and enjoy on the altar, pulpit, crucifix, chair and baptismal font today.


Emil Lackovic came from Croatia in the old Yugoslavia from which he escaped in 1965. He was a Design Engineer who had worked on many jobs. When he arrived in Australia his qualifications were not recognized and he had to work as a fitter and turner.

In Australia at the time there were at least two factions in the Croatian community vying for political advantage and Emil used to be contacted by both of them, often by telephone. In order to avoid their attentions he changed his name, using his mother’s maiden name of Bertoncelj and cutting off the last four letters. Hence Emil Berton was born and then people thought he was an Italian who had changed his name from Bertonelli or some similar derivation. Ann Fox married Emil Berton in 1966.


Sr Josephine Arnold SSpS – Previously St Laudasia came from Schwabenland in southern Germany – born 2nd October 1912 and died in Australia on 22nd July 1994. One of the oldest in a large family she joined the Holy Spirit Sisters in 1940 and came to Australia in 1949. That would make her a New Australian as the immigrants were called in those days. She had a fund of stories and songs from Germany which she used regularly. These she told and sung in the Schwabenland dialect and even if one could not understand the words the merriment of Josephine conveyed the message. She also worked with the Legion of Mary visiting the hospitals.


Ann D’Souza, an Anglo Indian, came from Madras, India, the whole family migrated and were naturalised within two years. English was their mother tongue so they quickly found jobs. The family sponsored Praxydes, a Goan from Poona, India, to come out in 1978 and three months later Ann and Praxydes were married. In India he was an inspector in his trade but had to drop a grade or so out here and do contract work as a Fitter and Turner. He then joined Queensland Rail and is now a Passenger Services Supervisor.

The Church in India is similar to Australia but with a lot more people and even the young persons come to mass. There is much more blind faith. Ann has difficulty coming to terms with the children asking questions about the faith as do other Australian children.

They belong to a strong extended family of about 150 members of 3 generations and this provides a great nurturing spirit for all the members.


Iolanda Lestani remembers:

Food was scarce in Italy when we left. When we arrived in Australia there was so much food. Our boys, aged 7 and 9, were so excited to see so much to eat on the table. We ate like we had never eaten before. I especially remember the huge, juicy watermelons.

My husband, Guido, had come to Australia in 1950 to join a French building firm. His two brothers were here too and I followed with our two sons in 1952. This was the year our family came to live in Zillmere.

We were very happy to be in Australia but we did not know any English so the women in the family went to work with Nanda Spaghetti in Northgate.


Lino and Anna De Luchi came from the city of Asolo which is near Venice in Northern Italy. When Anna’s family decided to come to Australia Lino decided he would come as well. They arrived in 1956 and were married the following year at Corpus Christi, Nundah.

After a short time in the Ingham area they moved back to Brisbane and settled on a poultry farm at Mitchelton. In 1965 they moved to another farm at Carseldine where Lino built their house and commenced a career in building.

Their four boys, Louis, John, Sandro and Jerry all went to St Flannan’s school and both Lino and Anna became very involved with both school and parish. Helped by such people as Sr Angela Rossi (USA) who spoke Italian, they felt as if they had arrived home at St Flannan’s. This relationship has continued and as Anna says “what we are today, St Flannan’s has made us.”

Three of the boys were married in St Flannan’s and most of their 18 grandchildren were baptised there. The De Luchi roots are set deep in the parish.


The Michalak Family - Leo, Margaret, Helena and Kaya:

Families are created in many ways -

Around 1984 we made some enquiries about local adoption and were shocked at the length of the waiting period (up to 10 years). After further serious consideration and more enquiries we decided to pursue inter-country adoption. We joined a Support Group and after much soul searching and fairly rigorous processing we were finally approved to adopt from South Korea in mid-1986.

In March 1987, we received the "phone call" to say that we had been allocated a baby girl born on 19th January, 1987. Her name was Lee, Chae Hee - we named her Helena Chae-Lee. Leo and I both felt that it was very important to keep part of her given Korean name. To say that we were overjoyed would be an understatement - but there would be a 12 week wait for health and immigration procedures, before we could go and collect her.

About 12 months later we applied to adopt a second child from South Korea. In April 1992, "the phone call" came again. We had been allocated a toddler born on 17th May, 1990 and her name was Kim, Son Mee.

Once again we had the big decision to make about whether to change or to keep her Korean name. With the help of a very dear Korean friend, T.J. Kwon, and much reading, we decided upon Kaya Son Mee. Kaya is the name of an ancient Korean Kingdom which existed in the area where Kaya was born. In early July, 1992 we travelled with Helena to collect Kaya and once again we spent 3 weeks exploring the country and arrived home on 26th July (Kaya's Anniversary Day).


Our 50th Wedding Anniversary - Eddie and Olga Kowalski:

The year is 1945 and we are at the D.P. (Displaced Persons) Camp in a little town called Wildflecken in Germany. The Camp is an ex-German Army Camp and there are over 18,000 displaced persons, 95% of whom are Polish.

On the 26th December, 1945 (Boxing Day), Olga and I married in a workshop which had been made into a Church. On that day 25 couples were married. It was a very cold winter day and we had to walk in the snow up to our knees so we were late. As we got to the Church which was full to the brim, we could not get past all the people to the altar. After a little time the Priest called our names and the people made room for us.

There was no photographer to take pictures and our wedding rings were made of copper wire. That was the start.

Where are the years gone? It seems only yesterday we were going through knee deep snow to get married and here we are 50 years later with 3 sons, 4 daughters-in-law, 7 grandchildren and 3 great-grandchildren. We thank God for looking after all of us and pray that He will keep us all in His care in the future.

Our love for each other is as it was on our wedding day!!


Merita left Samoa at the age of 15 in 1975 to go to Auckland. There she met and married Mika Molo at the age of 17. In 1995 they migrated to Australia and finally arrived at St Flannan’s. Mika works at Golden Circle Cannery to support their family of 8 children. In 1988 they all became Australian Citizens on Australia Day at the Brisbane City Hall.


Good On Ya Mates!

Australia Day 2000 was a special moment for the Goodwin family from the USA. It marked the naturalisation ceremony for Bill, APRE and Acting School Principal at St. Flannan's Primary School. Bill joined 748 men and women at Brisbane City Hall to pledge their desire to become a member of the Commonwealth of Australia. After living in the "Lucky Country" for almost 28 years, and having the dawn of a new millennium upon us, it was the perfect setting for becoming an "Aussie".


Victorina Paz J. Santos writes:

It was the 15th May, 1997 that I, together with my husband Arturo, and my youngest son Allan, arrived in Australia. We were sponsored by my older son Narciso, and his wife Agnes (now deceased) who have a daughter Nicole. Nicole was born in Australia. We left behind in our homeland, the Philippines, our other six adult children.

I was a school teacher in the Philippines for 30 years but, as reciprocal arrangements do not exist between our countries, it was 18 months before I was able to meet all the requirements making me a Queensland registered teacher in both State and Catholic schools. I work in Australia but not as a teacher and I find it very frustrating not to be able to make good use of my qualifications.

My Faith makes me believe that I can be of service in some other ways. I was very involved in church work in the Philippines and was president of my Parish Pastoral Council. Here I have become a volunteer worker too. I have taught Religion at the Boondall State School. I am a member of the Legion of Mary, a networker and a Reader at Sunday Mass. At Taigum State School I teach the official Filipino language, Tagalog, to adults and children on Saturday mornings.

Papua New Guinea

Intoducing The Koiaie Family:

We - Henry, Susan and our five children - arrived here in Brisbane on 31st July, 1998. I, (Henry), had been appointed by the Papua New Guinea Government as the Consul General to look after the Brisbane office. Three of our children are in school, Gelma (17) and Henry Jnr (15) attend Craigslea State High School while Casimir (13) is doing Grade Seven at St. Flannan's Primary School. Christophilda (4) and Shenalie (2) are still at home. We live at Carseldine West.

It has been a new experience for our family to leave home and work abroad. At first we faced some difficulties in adjusting to our new environment, which offered new challenges. Being accustomed to living in small villages or towns, moving into city life in a foreign country meant a lot of new things for us to learn and be part of. However, Brisbane's close proximity to PNG has given us the advantage of meeting some of our country men and women, which of course has assisted us to adjust quite quickly into Western City Life. The Koiaie family has now moved to a new posting.


The civil war has been raging in the Sudan since 1983 and has caused an estimated 3 million deaths, one million to be taken to the Northern Sudan and sold as slaves (Yes this is happening in the 20th & 21st Centuries) and millions more to flee their homes. These people are mostly from the Southern Sudan.

At present, 2003, there are six families living in the parish with children attending the school. When they arrived in Australia they found that the people spoke English, were white and did not carry arms. They also found supermarkets which contrasted strongly with the Sudanese market places. A major problem is to learn English, especially for the adults, but the children pick it up more readily at school. What they most appreciate is the feeling of peace and safety along with the freedom to move around.

When they arrive they have little money and goods so the St Vincent de Paul helps with furniture, clothing, bedding, etc.

Those children who attend St Flannan’s school are educated free for the first year. No fees or levies are charged, books and uniforms supplied and excursions are free. In the second year there are negotiations to see how much they can contribute and they are charged accordingly. Costs are covered by a fund that has been operating in the school for years, a sort of mission scheme. The English Second Language teacher helps them to learn English but s/he is only in the school for five hours per week.

The Red Cross helps and so does the government. If the new arrivals are sponsored then there is no outside help. The Legion of Mary and other parishioners are helping in the social adjustment of the arrivals as most of them cannot speak English.

9. Ecumenical Movement

John Cameron

In the mid 1980s, the World Council of Churches published the Lima Document. This document formed the basis of discussion for the first three years of the Movement in meetings with Anglicans, Baptists, Catholics, Church of Christ and Uniting Churches meeting at Robinson Road Uniting Church.

About 50 people attended the activities in the first three years. They met once a week for 11/2 hours over a period of four weeks. The large group would break into several small groups to hold discussions and then all would come together to present their summaries. These would then be merged into a set of conclusions reached by the whole group.

This was a very productive time when ideas were shared and many old Shibboleths were put to rest. The conclusion to the whole process would be an Ecumenical service in one of the participating churches.

In later years the attendance dropped off to about 12 – 15 participants.

Ecumenical Happenings

Monica Duffy

Day of Prayer

For many years, from the late 1970s women from St Flannan’s Church have attended the annual Women’s International Day of Prayer. The liturgy for these prayer gatherings is put together each year by women from a different part of the world. This makes the event very interesting for Brisbane people who get a global view for a morning. It is held in various churches. In recent years men have been invited to the Women’s Day of Prayer.

Combined Efforts

St Flannan’s Care and Concern has borrowed volunteers from the Anglican Church and vice versa. Other members have gone to the Alpha Bible Studies at the Uniting Church, Deagon. Still others are found at the Christmas Lights and Festivities at the Uniting Church, Deagon and the Carols by Candlelight at the Salvation Army Church, Taigum.

Christians in Dialogue

The ‘Bible in our Churches 1994’ was held at Aspley Uniting Church. I am always impressed at the friendly open groups. All opinions are listened to and there is so much commonality. I felt quite in accord with a grey haired lady from the Baptist Church who had begun studying the Bible as a tot in Sunday School, and was still studying. I haven’t yet read the whole bible once.

On the 15th June 1994 there was a concluding prayer service at the Anglican Church of the Resurrection at Aspley. There were seven clergy officiating including the Anglican and Catholic Bishops. It was a stirring and reverent liturgy which involved about 200 people in the congregation. At the end of the service all the celebrants faced the people, and together prayed for unity and blessed the congregation in unison. It was a wonderful moment.

Ecumenical Gathering at St Flannan’s

Five different denominations joined together at St Flannan’s Catholic Church during the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. Four ministers led the service which was a concluding celebration following four sessions of Ecumenical discussions at Aspley Uniting church.

Fr John Kilinko based the homily on John 17:20-2 and reminded all that Jesus prayed for Christian unity. Rev Christine Digby (Uniting Church Wavell Heights) said “I leave with a feeling of hope in Christian dialogue.”

Devotional, joyful, peaceful and with a feeling of oneness were some descriptions of the service.

There was laughter and the buzz of conversation at supper as people moved round talking to different groups and obviously having a good time. Maybe such feelings of fellowship were brought about by renewing Baptismal promises, making an Ecumenical commitment, the joining of hands in peace and singing and praying together.

Catechists at State School

Since 1970 St Flannan’s has sent volunteers to State Schools to teach Religious Education. With many other St Flannan’s parish volunteers Stella Looi was involved in teaching Ecumenical Religious Education at Boondall State School. On 11/5/1999 Stella was killed instantly in a car accident on the way to her class. Driving the car was her Buddhist husband, Patrick, who supported her in her Catholic faith. He was also killed.

A grief counselling session with prayer was held at St Flannan’s Administration Centre by Rev. Bruce Cornish from the Uniting Church Deagan. Catechists and those closely associated with her life attended.

A huge congregation attended the Requiem Mass celebrated at St Flannan’s. The Celebrant, Fr John Kilinko, was joined at the altar by Fr Graham Dorman from St Matthias Anglican Church and Rev Bruce Cornish from the Uniting Church.

People from many Religions, both Christian and Non-Christian, attended this service in great reverence and harmony. A Buddhist relative said after the ceremony, “I felt the warmth.”

On the 14th December1999 Fr John Kilinko blessed and dedicated a memorial plaque to Patrick and Stella Looi in the grounds of the Boondall State School. The idea for this project came from the student committee of the Boondall School. Teachers, Catechist friends and the older children attended this ceremony. (How far we have come in the last 50 years!)

The Ministers Together

This group, which used to be called The Ministers Fraternal until a woman joined their ranks, consists of Ministers from the Anglican, Baptist, Catholic, Pentecost, and Uniting Churches of Aspley, Geebung, Carseldine and Zillmere. They meet each month and share their faith and a meal. This keeps them in touch and builds their support group as they follow a common goal of helping to bring the Kingdom of God to people of the area.

Together they organize activities such as the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity held between the feasts of Ascension and Pentecost each year, when combined services are conducted in the local churches.

Other Ecumenical Activities:

Social Group that meets Thursday mornings;

Christmas Carols;

Advertise events from sister churches in the parish bulletin.

10. Employment Referral Service

Eileen Weatherhead & John Cameron

The Parish Employment service started in about 1979 and was mainly run, by and for, youth under the supervision of Margaret Hayes. Very little is known about this period.

In 1983 the Parish Council set up a committee to assist Margaret Hayes in trying to find jobs for the school leavers in Gr 12 & 10. They appealed to the parishioners for information about available jobs (Bulletin 20th November1983).

In 1985 John Cameron saw the need for a broader based service. This led to the establishment of the Employment Referral Service. John was surprised that they were not inundated with requests for employment; he expected a lot more requests.

It worked for both the unemployed and for employers seeking suitable staff. Registration required only basic information to be kept on file. No interviews were arranged but contact was made with the unemployed person and they were given details of suitable vacant positions.

Examples of positions that were filled were apprentice mechanic, medical secretary, clerical typists, office duties, hairdresser, storeman and car park attendant. Casual and part time work was found in house cleaning, lawn mowing, ironing and baby sitting.

Contact was maintained with major work-related programs and services. A job seekers’ seminar was held in the Parish Community Centre to help seekers with interview preparation, assessing the job market network and other topics.

Eileen Weatherhead had been running the service since about 1992.

The Employment service gradually declined and finally finished in the mid 1990s due to lack of activity. Part of the reason for the decline might have been its small size and limited area of action. This is one case where bigger might have been better. If the project covered, say the north side of Brisbane and networked all the parishes in the area, then there would have been a much bigger base for employment opportunities. The parish of Zillmere is a dormitory suburb in which people live but do not work and this limits its employment opportunities. It is also a lower middle class area where people are mostly employees rather than employers so they are not in a position to offer employment except in limited domestic circumstances.

However, be that as it may, the Employment Referral Service is an important part of the St Flannan’s story. It illustrates the willingness of the people to undertake new and difficult enterprises to serve the common good.

11. Finance Council

Tom McCarthy & Leigh Osborne

The Parish Finance Committee, which monitored parish finances, operated from at least 1970 but only on an ad hoc basis. The committee met intermittently and the priest carried most of the work and worry. It was replaced by the Parish Finance Council on 25/4/1993 in line with Archdiocesan policy.

The new body was subject to Archdiocesan guidelines and thus all parishes would be operating in a standard manner and under the supervision of the Archbishop. In April 1993 the first Council in St Flannan’s met – Members were Marilyn McLean, Mark Sheppard, John Cameron (Secretary), Tony Emms and Tom McCarthy (President). Mike Lalor (School Principal) and Marnie Dann (Parish Secretary) attended as advisors but did not have a vote. Fr Ashley PP also attended but had no vote.

An example of a budget is the one for 1994: Most income comes from parish second collection of about $110,000 annually, plus Flarana Fair of $24,500, plus the tennis court hire $6,500 pa.

The school depended on levies, profit from book sales, commission on uniforms and donations amounting to $20,000 in 1994. School fees of $118,000 were used to pay Catholic Education Office $54,000 for ancillary services to the school. The overall School Budget is approximately $1,000,000 pa of which about $150,000 is raised locally. The balance came from Federal and State Governments.

The Archbishop is responsible for supervising the material goods of the Archdiocese and he delegates responsibility for the local parishes to the parish priests. Each parish must have a Finance Council to advise the priest who is not a member and does not have a vote. Advice must cover such things as laws covering civil affairs, taxation, employment, privacy, workplace health and safety, etc. In some matters such as purchase of land, major building works etc., the priest has to seek approval from the Archbishop.

The Council must consist of at least three members of the parish and any others the priest thinks are necessary. At St Flannan’s a member of the Parish Pastoral Council is appointed. The school Principal may also be invited to attend for all or part of the meeting. However, anybody with direct financial interests in the parish or relative of the priest is not eligible to be a member.

The term for a member is three years but they may be reappointed, but only for two more consecutive terms. A member cannot be dismissed except for grave reasons. The priest or his delegate acts as chairperson and prepares the agenda.

Parish funds are invested with and borrowing done through, the Archdiocesan Development Fund in conjunction with Catholic Church Insurances. Reporting to the Archdiocese must be done in a set pattern and at regular intervals so that the Diocese has an overall picture of finances.

Copies of financial statements are posted on the church notice board and are available on request to any parishioner.

The policy of the Archdiocese, that financially disadvantaged families will not be denied a Catholic education for their children, is carried out via consultation with the Principal or the Parish Priest.

Financial management of the School was separated from that of the Parish in about July 1999. The School Principal is required to consult with the PP on financial issues and to report to the Council at each scheduled meeting.

12. Sports Days & Flarana Fair

Parish Archives and people mentioned below.

Soon after the school began, sports days were held on Saturdays in the area between the Blue School and the big Camphor Laurel tree along Beams Road. Ted Ford, a teacher living at Geebung, ran the sports. Many children from Geebung attended school at St Flannan’s before St Kevin’s School was built. The local children competed with children from Geebung, Wavell Heights, Aspley and possibly Sandgate, Banyo and Nudgee Orphanage.

Team sports, as well as individual sports such as running and jumping, were played. Martin Stewart organised them via a loud hailer from the windows of the Blue School. Starting and finishing lines were marked out but anything in between was left to the imagination of the competitors. The cross country races were held starting from the church, down the back over the creek and into the bush. Bits of rag were tied in the trees to guide the runners as they followed the track back to the church.

There was an ulterior motive to the sports days and that was to raise money for the parish because they had very little, and needed a lot. Stalls were set up around the property selling whatever they could find to sell. Food was a major item with such things as cakes, toffees, scones made by the mothers and sold at a good profit. Other foods such as pies and sausage rolls had to be bought but were also sold at a profit. The sports brought crowds of parents and families of the competitors.

Later, when the annual Zone sports day started, the crowds grew bigger and the stalls became more profitable. Gradually the number of attractions increased.

Gradually, by about 1965, the annual sports day developed into a full fete with all the usual stalls and entertainments. The Fete and sports were held in the first weekend in May and included a Mothers’ day stall, which used to charge sixpence for the items so the children could afford to buy something for their mothers. The Fete always had a BBQ and sausage sizzle. The mothers - the fathers were at work - used to go from house to house asking for donations of cakes or lollies, or failing that, the ingredients to make cakes and lollies.

Eileen Guy recounts that some of the women, armed with a letter from the school Principal, would go into Brisbane to such places as Coles and Woolworths to beg for help. With their hearts in their mouths they would approach the manager for a donation of small items for the Lucky Dip stall. Thus they would accumulate some 500 items which would be sold for 6 pence a dip.

Other attractions included Morning Teas, Cakes, Lollies, Chocolate Wheel, Lucky Numbers, Sewing, Pick a Box, International Foods, Merry Go Round, Trains, Big Rides, Fashion Parades, School Children events, Magician, Camel and Horse Rides, Face Painting, Fruit & Vege Stalls, etc. Lamington Drives were held through the school and the Fete with the Lamingtons being made by the ladies in the tuck shop. Large pieces of sponge cake were cut up, dipped in chocolate, sprinkled with coconut and left to dry in large wire based frames.

In 1980 the function was called both the Fete and Flarana Fair; apparently Fr Heenan wanted to make it a function in its own right by changing the name. The Parish Bulletin of 27th April1980 notes that it was held on 19th April, a little earlier than previously, with Doreen Dobbins as convenor and Max Greene as secretary. The profit grew dramatically, going to $9000 which was $3,000 up on the1979 result.

The Flarana Fair Bulletin 17th May 1981 marks the rising profit when it records a profit in excess of $11,000 which was $2,000 higher than 1980. It also records that the convenor was Lu Cross, who fulfilled that role many times, and that Parachute jumps, “which most had not seen at close range”, were the highlight of the day.

About this time Max Green was hired as an organiser. He developed Flarana Fair and even wanted to make it a night and day fair, but the workers were not willing. The old fete had a few entertainments such as pony rides, but Flarana Fair had all the gadgets of the showground - jumping castle, train rides, wall climbing, and merry go round.

After Max died the following note was published in Shalom and gives some idea of the esteem in which he was held:

On the 23rd December 1995 the death occurred of Maxwell John Green. Max worked for many, many years for our Parish Fair – “Flarana”. With his enormous experience from St Columban’s College in Colana Carnival, he added to the local strengths of Fr Brian Heenan and Convenor Lu Cross.

Max was a strong enthusiast for BIG statements. He correctly felt that the BIG rides were needed to add a dimension to the Fair that set it apart from just a Parish affair. Due to his involvement in Lucky tickets (which were distributed by Max through shopping centres and the like) he introduced a further aspect of money raising to Flarana.

To further promote the success of the Fair, he supported the introduction of a theme. This was developed and Paul O’Brien spent many nights with him putting together sponsors and entertainment for the printed programme; this still continues today. The idea behind the programme was to reach people outside the parish and it was distributed to houses and shops in the district. To cover printing costs advertising space on the program was sold to local businesses. In the mid 1980s the Art Union was developed and has been a mainstay of Flarana Fair ever since.

Max had a great vision, one of grandeur and style. He was often quiet at the meetings, but would add just enough to develop ideas. He was never forceful in his approach, never offended, but always ready to please and make OUR Fair special. For a little man he had plenty of energy was always ready to encourage, offer advice and assistance.

Paul and Jan O’Brien conclude:

The Fair continues turning in large profits and keeping the parish budget in the black. It remains the major parish/school bonding event of the year. It involves many people such as committee, money counters, ground preparers and cleaners, stall holders, cooks, craft persons, Art Union organizers and ticket sellers. The list goes on and on but the result is satisfaction for a great community event.

This table gives some idea of the increase in profits at Flarana over the last 27 years.

Year Profit $ Comments

1985 15,647

1990 27,343

1995 25,468

2000 44,098 First fireworks and extended hours so that people came and stayed for BBQ and entertainment. Celibrity Auction started.

2002 44,673 No fireworks – a new service station was too close for safety.


13. Hey Hey It’s St Flannan’s

Andrew Oberthur (Director, Producer, Actor, Musician, Clown, Compere since the beginning.)

In the Christmas holidays of 1993 a group of friends from our parish were sitting on my back deck discussing the meaning of life and bemoaning that most of the music we were singing and playing was ‘Church music’ (not that there’s anything wrong with that!!) We were also conscious that our parish was still using a relatively well-loved (old) organ. It was around this same time that Hey Hey It’s Saturday was a popular Saturday night television show.

Well, with a combination of bravado and creativity it was someone’s (history and modesty have absorbed the true identity of the person) idea to do Hey Hey live at St Flannan’s. What a better way to have some fun playing and performing some pop music, get parishioners together for a bit of fun and frivolity and raise a few dollars for a new keyboard for the musicians of the parish.

What do we need – a live band, comperes, entertainment, Plucka Duck – how hard could it be? So in 1994 we saw the birth of Hey Hey It’s St Flannan’s. It wasn’t a huge crowd and it probably wasn’t the greatest show on earth but a few parishioners came and enjoyed themselves. The music was under the guidance of Carmel Massingham, while Phil McGreevy and yours truly shared the hosting role. We promised a three course meal and a few hours of live entertainment and we delivered.

It appeared that Hey Hey might be a one-off as it wasn’t produced in 1995. That was until I was approached by parishioner John Horan in 1996, on behalf of the Parish Council. John said “I have two words for you – Hey Hey.” And that was all the invitation we needed to reproduce the magic, well, reproduce our brand of entertainment. Similar format, similar cast and concept with new entertainment – once again Hey Hey It’s St Flannan’s was reborn and has been on the parish calendar since 1995.

Since the inception of Hey Hey It’s St Flannan’s there have been countless people who have played their part in producing an entertaining evening of good fun. Family and friends from beyond St Flannan’s have enjoyed the creative antics of our parishioners. But much of the fun is had by the performers and the audience knowing the people up on stage. Hey Hey also claims to have unearthed some real talent including stand up comic Brayden Argent, Singer Len Thomas, Musical Comedienne Tess Bridges, The Bastard from the Bush – Vince McLoughlan, the list could go on and on. Of course there have been some international guests who have shared the stage of Hey Hey – from ‘Dame Edna’ to ‘Elvis Presley’ – we’ve seen it all.

Hey Hey was created initially to have some fun and raise a few dollars for the musicians of the parish but it became so much more. It was a source of energy for the creative team who met for a couple of months before the show to create something from (almost) nothing. It was a night of amateur entertainment which brought smiles and laughter to many people over the years. It brought people together who would not normally meet outside of Church. It re-kindled old friendships, strengthened existing friendships and created new friendships, just by sharing a meal and having a few laughs.

Finally I would like to pay tribute to our most recent pastors: John Kilinko, Ashley Warbrooke and Tony Hallam, who allowed us to use part of the church for Hey Hey and also to the creative team who have been instrumental in producing Hey Hey in the last few years: Peter & Jenny Richie, John & Robyn L’Estrange, Mike & Jenny Flanagan, Eddie Boga, Bernie Crooks and Julie Fisher. The support network has included Jeff & Robyn Biggs, Sue & Colin Davis, Clare & Peter Rossberg, Rebecca O’Keefe, Mary-Rose & Paul Hocken and the list could go on and on and on and ...

Hey Hey has brought much pleasure to many people over the last eight shows in nine years, including yours truly. It has been an honor to work with the people named and all those who remain unnamed. Thanks for the memories and all the good times.

Editor: Hey Hey is a wonderful example of how well an ordinary parish can rise to the occasion year after year when the right leadership is given. And it was all done with local talent.

14. Ladies’ Annual Retreats

Sr Christa Murphy writes: The Retreats were a special work of the Holy Spirit Sisters following the Provincial Chapter in 1973. At the time it was obvious that the religious orders were declining in numbers and the laity was going to have to take over many positions of responsibility in the Church. The Sisters resolved to fill the role of resource persons and help train lay people to assume their rightful place in the Church according to the teachings of the Second Vatican Council. One way of doing this was to conduct retreats to enable people to take time to think, pray, share and grow in knowledge and confidence.

The retreats started in the early part of Fr Brian Heenan’s time (Jan 1977 – Dec 1990) when Sr Joseanne was the Superior of the Convent (1978 – 85), probably the late 1970s.

Marlene Eales continues:

The retreats were held annually at Rosalie Waters, Dayboro. At first they were on the Mothers’ Day weekend and then changed to October. There were three parishes where the Holy Spirit Sisters were involved – Petrie, Salisbury and Zillmere. The early weekends were catered for by a lovely lady and her husband from Petrie, later we catered for ourselves with two parishes responsible for breakfast or lunch and the other parish for a celebration dinner on Saturday night.

Meetings to prepare for the retreat were held a few times during the year with 2 or 3 representatives from each of the three parishes, and Sr Patricia Naughton, at the Holy Spirit Hospital. Duties were shared, with the parish ladies being responsible for some of the sessions held on the weekend. Although pretty demanding, they were also very rewarding as every weekend I attended was a wonderful experience. We really looked forward to seeing, praying and sharing experiences with the women from other parishes and many friendships were formed.

The retreats were a time when only women were present and they could share in a way that wasn’t possible in mixed company. It was real ‘women’s business’ where they could be very open with each other, they could share experiences freely, they could laugh or cry as they felt inclined – it was an atmosphere of total freedom.

15. Legion of Mary

Parish archives and Ann Berton.

Ann Berton joined the Legion in 1956 when such people as Mary Barnes, Jean Moore, Mrs Henderson and Shirley Rochford were also members. Fr Greene wanted a census of the Zillmere-Boondall area so the Legion visited every home by walking around the area. The members always visited in pairs so Mary Barnes, who ran a haberdashery shop/post office near Zillmere Railway Station, and Ann often worked together. Because they both had jobs, they visited in the evenings.

In the early days there were many new immigrants, usually called New Australians, who were visited and the Legion was able to help them in many ways. They also visited the sick, the bereaved and people in difficult situations. Some members taught Religious Education in the State school.

On the 27th July 1958 a Junior Legion (of Mary) Praesidium "Lily of the Valley" was organized by Legion Sisters Cleary and McIvor and by September they had an active membership of 30. It is not clear how long this lasted but another was formed in about 1960/1 under Sr Gabriella. It seems that the idea was to lead up to becoming an adult legionary. They concentrated on little acts of kindness, learning about the adult legion and supported them by prayer. It lasted only a few years.

The Legion report in the 2nd January1976 Parish Bulletin informed us that membership had dropped from 7 to 5 persons. Then it went on to describe their activities: “one teaches catechism at Zillmere State School, another visits Chermside Hospital each week, another, a Holy Spirit Sister (St Josephine SSpS), visits an aged people’s home at Aspley, RBH, and sick and elderly in the parish, another member helps a neighbour who is incapacitated. During the year 804 homes were visited – 240 of these were Catholic - this is done by two members. Fr Doyle attends meetings as often as possible. Hope the new priest, Fr Heenan, will do the same.”

Anne Berton writes:

In 1981 Del Ashton joined Lu Cross, Jean Moore, Lucy Graham, May Fox, Bridie O’Gorman, Sara Sciacca, Gloria Jackson and Flo Zorzetto, visiting door to door and making much appreciated visits to new parishioners and performing other works.

The Legion was always part of the parish scene, working parallel with Care and Concern. During the time of Fr Heenan the Legion began the practice of saying the rosary in people’s homes during May and October. For this purpose a statue of Our Lady of Lourdes, donated by Fr Heenan, and the necessary ‘carry all bag’, donated by Michael Donovan, were presented to the group.

Gradually the Legion membership decreased, and when Jean Moore died in May 1997 Del Ashton was left on her own. It was Jean’s wish that the May and October rosaries be continued. In November 1999 the Legion started again with a music ministry and continued the practice of reciting the rosary with a different family each weekday during May and October. The rosary has now been extended throughout the year with the ‘pilgrim statue’ of Our Lady of Lourdes being taken to a different home each week.

The Legion produced a ‘Big Book’ of prayers for the children to share during Adoration time before school on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. For home use, 100 miniature copies of “Little Prayers for Little Pray-ers” are made each year. Parents and parishioners are also welcomed to the Adoration time.

At a school assembly all First Communicants are given a gift package of a book of prayers for Holy Communion, a rosary and a Miraculous Medal. The newly baptised also receive a small gift of a Baptismal card and a decorated Miraculous Medal with explanatory leaflets. Each gift is placed with the Baptismal certificate and presented to the parents by Fr John.

Along with the Catechists we teach RE at Boondall State School, the frail aged are visited monthly, and weekly where necessary, we help to take Holy Communion to those in need each week and transport is arranged to devotional events such as Corpus Christi.

The Legionaries feel privileged to do these little works but especially, over the last 6 months, to be able to assist Denise Fridolf, the parish liaison for Migrants and Refugees. We have worked together in helping five large and lovely families from Sudan to overcome the many difficulties which they face as they learn a new language, settle into their new homes, schools and country.

The Legion of Mary has opened to us a well balanced spiritual lifestyle that is centred on Jesus, obedient to the Will of the Father, and empowered by the Holy Spirit in imitation of our mother Mary.

16. Lenten Program

Parish Archives and those listed below.

Fr Doyle had the Lenten Discussion Program running as early as March 1976 according to the weekly bulletin of 29/2/1976. The next record is in Fr Heenan’s bulletin of 15th March 1981. It announced that the Ashes to Easter Lenten program would be operating with three groups, one in the day and two in the evening. There was also the same program available for people at home who could not go to the groups. This was a day by day program on printed sheets which were available at the church door.

The Program consisted of a number (from 3 to 10) of small groups with from 5 to 12 persons for the six weeks of Lent, meeting in homes and the Parish Centre for about 11/2 hours each week. The group would pray, read the Gospel of the Sunday, read and discuss a short paper, share stories, experiences and enjoy one another’s company.

At present a booklet from the Archdiocesan Office is used to guide the groups through the meetings. It contains Gospel readings, personal stories, suggestions for prayer and meditation. Also, CDs are available for background music and meditation. Earlier groups had tapes made by the parish priests to guide the members.

The meetings are organized and led by one of the group. Members may take it in turn to lead. The discussions can be lively and engrossing with members sharing their faith experiences. It is an excellent way of getting to understand other parishioners and other points of view. Many friendships are formed in the groups.

In an article “WHY JOIN A LENTEN PROGRAM” Francis Ross writes:

I went to my first meeting with a fixed image, "my own image". By the end of that first night I was buzzing with Jesus and as the program continued, I began to hear and see 20th Century Jesus and Mary stories in the very people I had met and celebrated Mass with most weekends. I was being filled, topped up and renewed in my faith.

I've never personally met anyone who's been hailed, betrayed, abused and then crucified. Neither have I met a woman who prompted her only child in that direction then followed him from pillar to post or cross as it was. NOT YET. But there is a Jesus and a Mary story in a lot of people. In our sharing and listening to each other, by being guided by the Lenten program tapes, I know it will bring me closer to seeing Christ in others, to be renewed, to be fuelled, to sustain me in the next 12 months.

Kate McLean writing of her first program says:

I was very impressed and humbled by the experience. The material made me question for the first time what I really believed. It was the first time I looked at Lent in any depth other than the abstinences, Stations of the Cross and Easter Mass.

For me, the special part has been the sharing and participation of so many people in our wonderful parish. I listen with wonder and admiration to the life stories of these forever young people who helped build our parish.

A special memory is that I shared two Lents with Stella Looie. I can still see her smiling face when I think of her. She sacrificed so much to follow Jesus. Her husband, Patrick, not a Catholic, gave her every assistance. (Both were killed in a road accident when Stella was on her way to teach Religious Education at Boondall State School.)

17. Liturgies

1. Children’s Liturgies

Anne Murray, Catherine Lunney and Julie Street

The children have always been an important part of our parish and as parents we were always keen to keep our children involved in the Mass, hence our initial involvement in Children’s Liturgies.

Fr John Chalmers started the liturgies in the mid 1980s, with an enthusiastic group of young mothers. When we first started we would celebrate a Children’s Mass about every second month. This would involve the children taking an active part in the Mass. They would introduce the Mass, which always centered on a theme, do the readings, Prayers of the Faithful and, more than likely, act out the Gospel. The hymns would be ones with which the children were familiar and they formed their own choir for the Mass.

One Christmas we did a “Christmas in the Scrub” theme and made hand puppets of an Australian animal or bird for each child present. After Fr John left Fr Tony Hallam took over.

While the children enjoyed their Mass it took a lot of time and effort on the part of the few volunteers who helped organize the liturgy. In 1995, after some discussions and meetings with Fr Ashley Warbrooke, it was decided to trial a Children’s Liturgy of the Word (CLOW). Sr Moira Sheedy and Anne Murrays visited some parishes where this system was already in use. It seemed to work well so we decided to go ahead with it at St Flannan’s.

CLOW is much easier to organize for the volunteers as there are activity sheets available for all Sundays which give many ideas for the particular session. The children are taken out of the adult mass just before the Readings, go to the meeting room in the Parish Office and come back into the church as part of the Offertory Procession. While they are with the ‘teacher’, they are led through the readings at their own level. They are also able to use colouring in sheets and carry out other activities arranged by the teacher

At present (2002) there are between 30 and 40 children attending regularly. They range from about 4 years, when they are old enough to part from Mum and Dad, to 12 years. These older ones may accompany their younger siblings or they may just feel more comfortable in the CLOW than in the adult mass.

CLOW is held at the 9.00am Mass on the second and last Sundays of the month and volunteers are usually only called on three times a year. It is hoped that with an increase in the number of volunteers the CLOW will be held on all Sundays of the year.

The special Children’s Christmas Liturgies are separate from the above and are arranged by the Parish Priest assisted by volunteers.

2. Awareness Liturgies

Maureen Gallagher recalls:

1981 was the year of Disabled Persons and the Parish Council decided to do something practical for the disabled in the parish. Amongst other things a mass was held to highlight the different abilities of each one of us. It was fully signed for those who were hard of hearing and people with other disabilities, or their families, did the readings and took part in the Offertory procession.

The mass was so successful that it became a regular monthly feature in the parish for some time. In 1982 Kieran Gallagher, who was born severely disabled, made his first Holy Communion and was confirmed. He received communion under both species, as is the custom at St Flannan’s, the Precious Blood was given to him from a spoon held by his mother. In his homily Fr Brian commented: “We don’t know what Kieran knows about Jesus but we do know that Jesus knows all about Kieran.”

18. Ministries

1. Hospitality

Auriel Perkins writes:

St Flannan’s Parish has always had a reputation for friendliness and caring. The people on the Hospitality Roster try to carry on this tradition. In 1986 Fr Heenan established a Welcoming Committee. New parishioners were invited to sign a Welcoming Book and a Committee member would meet with the new parishioner and help them settle into the parish.

Meetings consisting of representatives from various ministries, Parish Council, Caring Community, Youth Groups etc., were held monthly and morning teas were also arranged monthly after 9am mass. A Parish Booklet was published which detailed all the activities and ministries in the parish. It was available to all parishioners.

Gradually the morning teas declined and the Welcoming Committee evolved into the Hospitality Ministry in the early 1990s. The latter body had different duties including welcoming the congregation, ensuring that the correct number of Eucharistic Ministers, Readers and Collectors were at each mass and finding a family, or couple, to take up the gifts at the Offertory.

Today the ministry continues by welcoming the members of the congregation at the main door and giving them a current newsletter before mass.

2. Looking After the Altar

Ann Lawrence writes:

We have been fortunate and blessed here with the care of our church and help for our Priests. From the early days we had the Nuns to look after the Sacristy and care for the sacred vessels (Chalice, Ciborium, etc), prepare the Sanctuary and, later, the Blessed Sacrament Chapel. Ladies went on a roster to help with changing the altar rail cloths and the altar cloths, which were laundered at Holy Spirit Convent. We washed the Sanctuary floor, which was polished, and vacuumed the red carpet runners.

There are a couple of ladies from the early days still doing the Altar cleaning and they enjoy being able to still do the cleaning.

After the Nuns left the parish in 1983 we took over their duties of looking after that part of the church. We do the washing of all the Altar linen and cloths. Also we had a group of people who went on roster for preparing the Altar and looking after the flowers for the weekend masses.

Looking after the Sanctuary floor became much easier after Fr Heenan, with help from Fr Dillon, made the alterations to the body of the church by moving the altar to its present position. They put down carpet on the Sanctuary floor so now we only have to vacuum the floor.

The highlights of looking after the church are the big clean ups twice a year. We clean from the floor to the ceiling, lights, fans, walls, windows inside and out. A great time is enjoyed by a great number of helpers.

3. Eucharistic Ministry (EM)

Tom McCarthy writes: Fr Martin Doyle started the Eucharistic Ministry with two lay persons at each mass helping with the hosts. The idea was for them to serve for two years and then let someone else take their place. This did not work out and the original ministers continued. When Fr Brian Heenan arrived, or soon thereafter, he extended the existing lay ministry to dispensing the wine.

The ministry continues, with minor changes, much the same only the roster has grown as more people volunteer for the service.

Linda Filiaggi explains her doubts, fears and solutions about the ministry:

Communion is very special to me, but it had never entered my mind to become a Eucharist Minister until one day someone asked me if I would consider becoming one. At first I said I would not have time. Then without even thinking I just said yes.

Afterwards, when I had time to reflect carefully, I became afraid. So many questions filled my head. I did not think I was worthy of such a ministry and I did not think I had the courage to carry it out. I thought of backing out.

On the following Sunday, rosters for the year were being drawn up. Father told the congregation how important it was to have Eucharistic Ministers, especially ones that would have time to take communion to the elderly and the sick. I changed my mind again.

I attended a group meeting with Sr. Moira Sheedy to go over the format. It all seemed straight forward and simple. Until my first time I realised that nothing had yet prepared me for the confidence I would need. I found it very difficult to stand in front of everyone. Inside of me I was shaking. As the weeks went by it became easier and I have become more relaxed.

When the time came for me to take communion to the elderly or the sick, once again I was unsure. How would people accept me, an ordinary woman, bringing communion to them? My worries turned to joy when I met so many wonderful people. Now I know that I am the lucky one because they make me feel so welcome. They always have so many stories to share with me, some sad, some happy. The thirty minutes I spend with them goes so quickly.

I enjoy my work as a Eucharistic Minister.

4. Home Eucharistic Ministry

An important part of the Eucharistic Ministry is that service of taking Communion to those parishioners who are housebound. There have been many ministers serving and an edited version of the experiences of one of them, Geoff Archer, follows:

At first Geoff was not accepted as a minister because “he was not well enough known in the parish.” Geoff was so shocked, as he has been in the parish some 10 years, that “I removed myself from the parish”.

Later during the “incumbency of Fr Tony Hallam I was asked if I would take over the organizing of the EMs in general, and the “visiting of the Sick” in particular. In, what I can only presume, was a fit of religious zeal, I accepted, this onerous and unforgiving task!! I was ably assisted, from time to time, by Sr Moira, whose encouragement, and morale backing was invaluable. She was sorely missed, not the least by me, when she moved to pastures new.”

Then, when Geoff resigned, “the mantle fell on the shoulders of that willing and loveable fellow, Tom McCarthy. I was sorry to hear that he had copped the lot and that not enough energy had been used to find a young person who was not already burdened down with parish activities.” But of course young people are getting thinner on the ground around the parish.

“I personally enjoyed being an EM, and especially visiting the sick or housebound. Over the years I have met some beautiful people, and it is indeed sad, for me, when they depart for their heavenly homes.”

19. Networking

Monica Duffy writes:

Long ago, in the beginning, before the Australian public was on the Internet, there was Networking in St Flannan’s Parish. When Archbishop Bathersby came to St Flannan’s in 1999 he was captivated by the Network system as he felt it was unique. Maybe the best way to describe Networking is to liken it “to the old K Mart staff training program of cold pricklies and warm fuzzies. You need to smile at the customers and say Good Day so that when they come to K Mart, or drive past, they will think of it as an agreeable place.”

Marnie Dann writes:

In 1987, Frs Brian Heenan and John Chalmers wrote to the people of St Flannan’s and outlined a ‘Grand Vision’ of regular contact with ALL of the known Catholics in our area.

They said that for many people the only contact with the Parish was at Sunday mass, and apart from that, most people were relatively isolated in the area in which they live. The priests felt the parish should provide an opportunity for all parishioners to show their love and care for each other as part of the one family of God. They also realised with over 1200 families listed in our Parish, it was impossible for two priests to personally maintain regular contact with every family.

In 1962 the Bishops of the Second Vatican Council proposed a return to the Church where there was ‘co-responsibility’ - a church where all who are baptised are called to work with God and with the talents he gave us – to transform our world into the City of God – a place of justice and freedom for all, where no one is in need or locked away, forgotten and isolated.

Based on the parish census of 1983 the Parish Council drew up a plan to regularly contact every family in the parish. This ambitious undertaking was based on dividing the parish into 32 areas with one Networker per area. What two priests could not do 32 parishioners were going to attempt.

The plan went into operation in December 1987 with each Networker visiting the Catholics in their allotted area, introducing themselves and delivering the Parish Christmas letter.

This was just the start as the Dream was to keep the people up to date on parish activities and communicate to the priests and other ministries in the parish the needs of the people. Someone might like a priest to call, to have communion brought to a sick person, to visit a lonely person, to mind a child, to mow a lawn, etc.

Very soon it became obvious that the areas were too large for one person and the plan was redrawn from 32 to 80 areas with a Networker in each.

How each Networker ministered to her/his area was left up to the individual. Gradually it became the norm to make a delivery of the annual Easter and Christmas messages from the Parish as well as follow up the Parish invitation to the annual Open Air mass.

Social gatherings of Networkers and their families were held as well as in-service days to enable a sharing of ideas and discuss how effectiveness could be improved.

Over the years the Dream lives on even as the methods may change because Networking is a living organisation aimed at caring for one another. The original plan was an ideal and a challenge for the networkers and they have responded by working hard to live up to the ideal.

The original letter from Frs Heenan and Chalmers epitomised the challenge by stating:

God knows what wonderful things will happen if we have the courage to look beyond ourselves.

Ken Mannering, a Networker writes:

Just before mass one Sunday Fr Heenan conscripted me to be a networker. ‘Be a good listener’ was all the advice he gave me. All of the older folk I visited had fascinating tales to tell. As networkers the highest accolade we can be paid is that we are just like human beings. Generally it was easy to go along with what those visited said but on one occasion I was called in as arbitrator in a domestic dispute. I chickened out of that one.

We should not simply come to church on Sundays, expect to be filled up with spiritual gas to last us through the week and then blot out all thoughts of our neighbours.

Monica Duffy outlines the 2002 networking scheme. There are 1,000 households with Catholics listed in the parish along with 105 networkers and 8 co-ordinators. Since Christmas 1994 the parish magazine Shalom has been distributed by networkers. This replaced the original letters of greeting or brochures. Each networker attempts to contact about 10 Catholic households in their area 3 times each year. If they are asked they refer any difficulties or needs to the appropriate ministry. They also refer changes of address to the parish. Almost all Catholics visited are friendly even if they have only a few minutes to spare or are alienated from the Catholic Church. Some people become more involved in church activities, some have ‘snags’ in their relationship with the church smoothed out.

One recipient finally admitted to the networker that she was not the person named on the list and she was not a Catholic. She had not said anything because she liked the visit and the magazine, and had been enjoying it since the last, Catholic, owners had left.

A man who had been visited regularly by a networker died. The family knew he wanted a Catholic funeral but had lost touch with the church and felt at a loss to know what to do. They contacted the networker and were amazed that a priest and nun arrived very quickly to guide them through the procedure.

A Catholic couple who had been married in the Registry Office felt, as their small children grew, the need to be involved with their church. They felt confident speaking to a networker about their feeling. With their permission the networker was able to make one phone call to the appropriate person. The couple were able to easily have their marriage blessed and became very involved in their parish.

One networker was chatting to a lady. She said “You have been here three times now. You have not asked for money. You have not asked if I go to church. What is it you want?”

Monica Duffy tells of why she thinks that each networker needs a mobile phone. She was visiting a home on her rounds when she was bailed up at the front gate by a couple of bellowing dogs. She did not dare to go inside the gate but instead took out her mobile and rang the householder who then came out and quieted the dogs and had a chat over the front fence.

In 1999 the Catholic Leader published a short note about the Networking at St Flannan’s and mentioned that the idea began 12 years previously. It also said that about 12 households in the vicinity of the Networker’s home was the ideal cluster to visit. “A networker is a face at your door that tells you that the Church is still there, but does not try to convert nor ask for anything.” (Quoting Monica Duffy).

At the Network Leaders General Meeting in March1999 it was voted a good idea to have a letter from the coordinators to the networkers with each delivery of magazine bundles (provided the coordinators had something worthwhile to say.) This has led to some rather "tongue in cheek" literature including advice on angry dogs ( mobile phones are handy ) , non-Catholics who want the magazine, mystery people who never seem to be home , and the habit of Catholics moving in great numbers to different addresses and making our lists redundant just as we think they are updated.

Some people find Networking great fun and really easy. They make contact while hosing the garden, going for a walk or shopping at the Supermarket. Some Networkers lovingly complain that it takes them longer to shop because they know more people. The most common complaint of Networkers is not about angry Catholics but about angry barking dogs. Many Catholics never go to church but it is a very rare event for a Networker to be asked not to knock on their door again.

In August 2001 Network Leaders celebrated at a 14th Birthday party after the community Mass. Some of the original Networkers cut the cake. The replacement level of Networkers is not very high. Some resign because they find it is a task too difficult and feel they "don't do it properly". Some resign because of ill health. Some move to other areas of Brisbane.

One Networker must have been rather secretive about her Networking, because on a day when she was out her teenage son received the delivery of magazines. He insisted his mother was not a Networker and would never deliver magazines. When he was laughingly assured that she had been doing this for 3 years and was the face of God in the parish, he was left speechless.

We are fortunate to have always had very supportive and interested priests, patient and helpful staff in the St Flannan’s administration Office and a large band of people who try with God's help to follow an ideal. Monica Duffy

20. Open Air Masses

The first one was held in 1978 at the Parish 25th Jubilee, although an earlier one is mentioned in 1977 according to a Parish Bulletin of 2/9/1990. Both dates were in the time of Fr Brian Heenan. These masses have been attended by Archbishops, Bishops and other Church dignitaries. They have marked the farewell to Parish Priests, Associate Pastors and other prominent parish members, and the welcoming of newcomers into the community as well as celebrating Jubilees.

They aim to gather together all parishioners at one mass instead of separating them into four groups each weekend. This gives everyone a chance to meet with people they don’t normally see. It is the one time of the year when the whole parish worships as one community and is important in binding the parish community together.

The Bicentennial Celebration mass on 17th July 1988 had the Nudgee College Band playing. Morning Tea after mass was followed by a Barbecue lunch costing 70cents, and tea, coffee, and cordial were provided. There was a Merry Go Round and Pony rides for the kids, tennis and touch football for the teens and young at heart or just have a relaxing day in the sun for everyone. Parking was provided in the ‘usual places and Zillmere North School grounds.’

Trish Corbett comments that Liturgical dancing became an uplifting and extremely expressive part of these events. In July 1984 Archbishop Rush and others commented on the prayerful and very expressive liturgical dancing performed by the children of St Flannan’s. The person behind this movement was Mary Ford, longtime Assistant Principal Religious Education at St Flannan’s from 1977 to 1992.

The mass to farewell Fr Brian Heenan on 26th August 1990 was attended by some 2,000 people.

The last Open Air Mass was in 1999. Since then the community gathering has been held in the Church with all the partitions open to accommodate the large congregation. It was decided to hold the Mass in the church because of the great amount of work involved for the few hours of the function. A stage had to be set up to hold the altar which had to be carried out, seating had to be arranged, some people brought their own chairs, there was always the possibility of rain and there was always the problem of wind. One year there was a frantic rush by those on stage to catch the mobile altar before it went over the edge of the stage. The following year they probably took off the casters.

It was a grand occasion but as time went on the labour force of younger people diminished and it became a problem to get enough workers to set up and dismantle the structures needed for the day. Also, some people were not able to get to the one mass of the week end so the Saturday night mass was retained in the later years.

21. Parents & Friends Association

Archives, Paul O’Brien and those mentioned below.

Prior to, and while, Sr Christa Murphy was principal and vice principal (1972 to 1975) there were only the Fete Committee and the Tuck Shop Committee. The men were active working around the school on a needs basis. There was no ongoing structure.

Fr Doyle called a meeting to discuss the formation of a P&F Association on the 19th February, 1976 which resulted in its formation on the 26th February, 1976. Ron Williamson (President), in a letter dated 3rd March, 1976 listed the following members, Brian Coman (Secretary), Margaret Fisher (Treasurer), Alwyn Graham, Peter Gardiner, Bevan Gallagher, Noel Shaw, Doreen Dobbins, Tom Borger and Gail Mahoney (Committee Members).

The first task for the new association was the building of four classrooms and expansion of the toilet block. The process of applying for a government grant took much time and effort on the part of the principal, Al Arnall, and the P&F Committee. It included an estimate of the growth of the school over the next five years. However, the effort paid off and the four new classrooms, the ‘top block’, were blessed and opened on 27th January, 1978.

In the meantime much remained to be done immediately, if not sooner (the usual story). The new P&F called for a working bee to paint the existing classrooms, inside and out, and 40 men turned up to do the job over several weekends. Another job was the laying of the concrete cricket pitch in the lower sports field. The job was done very quickly, largely due to the organizational skills of one man, the skills of a surveyor, a ditch digger operator and a carpenter to set up the job. Then the concrete was poured and the job completed by 4.00pm. The pitch is still operational in 2003.

About 1978 the old tennis courts, one ant bed (decomposed granite) and one concrete, had to be renovated. A large team of men did the preliminary work and laid the new concrete bases. A contractor surfaced them with asphalt and the P&F had to re-erect the fences. At that time the Tennis Club was reactivated and teams were entered in the Q.L.T.A competition.

A fence was built along Handford and Beams Roads preventing the local hoons from taking a short cut across the corner to avoid the traffic lights. But not until the slow learner-hoons managed to demolish part of the fence at least three times.

A playground equipped with swings and other gadgets was built and at first all went well; then the safety aspects of such things as the swings were questioned. There was ‘a hell of an outcry’ and the experts were called in to advise, resulting in the removal of the swings and some other items. This was before the Workplace Health & Safety laws were passed. About this time a weekly roster was inaugurated to wash down, sweep up and weed the areas around the classrooms.

To raise funds, a 100 Club was organized. The idea was that 100 people put in $1 per week for 10 weeks. A prize was given each week based on the first couple of numbers in the winning Casket ticket. The scheme raised about $500 a time. A permit was needed to run the game but the member nominated to lodge the application forgot to do so. The P&F was prosecuted and had to pay a fine of $5.

In the early days, not much in the way of social events was held, but at each Annual Sports Day Fete the P&F staffed the BBQ stall. In the early 1980s progressive dinners were held in homes, along with Country & Western Square-dancing nights in the school grounds to raise money and to socialize. Other fund raising measures included such things as the annual Flarana Fair, raffles, sausage sizzles, etc.

Tom Carroll recalls the wonderful “atmosphere of ‘can do’ – let’s get in there and make it fulfilling for our children”. Nothing was a problem. He writes about the time when they erected a windbreak of Hessian tied to star pickets for one of the outdoor Bush dances. The “muscles” swung the sledgehammer, sure that they were well clear of the water pipe in the vicinity and, hit the pipe! Water flew everywhere. That did not stop them, repairs were made, the dance went on and the incident survived in many a lively retelling. He concluded “Did we learn from this experience? Of course not, and the water pipe was regularly in need of repair!”

According to Tom, when the school wanted to start a “personal development” course some parents saw it as “sex education” and many exciting discussions ensued, which “ made for more lively meetings than the usual fare.” This debate he says, “saw an exponential growth in attendance” at the P&F meetings.

These activities set the pattern for many future P&F functions, but in 1994 Louise Doolan & Peter Ritchie reported in Shalom that changes were being made to keep up with the changing times. Much fundraising activity was replaced with an annual levy on the families. Although working bees were still ‘popular’, there were so many families with two income earners it became difficult to staff them. Hence the cost of school maintenance was rising.

Social events now included such things as a “Meet and Greet” evening for new teachers and members, the Ball in the Hall and a Quilting Exhibition.

The items financed by the P&F were also changing. The money raised was spent on many things such as purchase of computers and software, subsidizing teacher release time for study and conferences, library assistance and tuckshop maintenance.

The later 1990s, as reported in Shalom by Eric Rudorfer and Noel Shannon, followed the same pattern.

A monster working bee dismantled the old fence and replaced it with a new wire fence on Beams Road as well as a new fence around the car park. Water was laid on to the bottom oval and the ‘high’ school. The work was completed over a weekend by about 60 volunteers, plus those who prepared food at lunch breaks.

Social events included Book Fairs, a Golf day, a farewell dinner for departing Principal, Mike Lalor, a Ball in the Hall and an Evening with Wayne Bennett. These functions also raised money for the school.

A new item on the fund raising agenda was that of grants from various bodies. One grant of $15,000 was from the Gaming Machine Community Benefit to rejuvenate the 20 year old basketball court. Another was a Library grant of $5,000, which paid for 2 computers, 6 computer trolleys and expenses for working bees.

The new Workplace Health and Safety laws made it necessary to purchase 16 ‘goal post protectors’ at $75 each and a soft fall for the Grade 1 & 2 play area.

Sharnie Georgie, in 2002, acknowledged the difficulty of recruiting volunteers for the committee but acknowledged what a good job they did once they were there. In the early 1980s Tom Carroll commented on the same problem “There was a general reluctance to step forward…” then he went on to say that once on the committee people became “splendid workers”.

Sharnie goes on to describe the activities of the P&F in the early 21st Century. To encourage closer links among the school community, a BBQ was held each term and a family skate night at Albany Creek Skate Rink was held. To build closer links between school and parish the children are encouraged to take part in the Sunday ‘Children’s Masses’. To help involve parents in school functions a system of class mothers has been started whereby one mother helps organize the parents of a particular class for events, such as a Mass or a sports day for that class.

To bridge the gap between school and the parish the children are encouraged to come to the Sunday ‘Children’s’ Masses” along with their parents. Also, parishioners are invited and encouraged to become involved in school functions.

Six meetings are held each year requiring a quorum of 10 members. Even with some 400 members in the local area, the quorum is sometimes not reached although there are 240 families listed as members. Thus the executive has to make the decisions. Tom Carroll says, of the early 1980s, the meetings usually attracted “the committee, the Principal, some teachers and a few stalwart parents”. Nothing much changes.

In the early 1980s Tom Carroll commented - “Like most primary committees, the majority of members were females”. This is still the case in the 21st Century. After all, women form the overwhelming majority of Church members.

While the levy is the main source of revenue the social events also raise small amounts of cash. The old raffles are still used on occasions. A tuck shop is held one day per week, with a specialty day once a month when special foods, requested by the pupils, are sold. A Mothers’ Day stall and a Fathers’ Day stall are held to provide small gifts that the children can buy.

And so the story continues with things old and new. Ever changing to meet the needs of the changing times, the P&F has to be able to read the signs of the times.

Presidents of the P&F with their approximate times of service:

Ron Williamson (1976 – 78), Tony Mula (1979 - 80), Tom Carroll (1981 – 84), Damien Cervetto (1985 – 87), Paul O’Brien (1988 – 89), Jenny Peard (1990 – 93), Peter Ritchie (1994 – 95), Eric Rudorfer (1996 - 97), Noel Shannon (1998 - 99), Melissa Conway (2000), Sharnie Georgie (2001 – 2002), Catherine Lunney, (2003 - ).

22. Parish Pastoral Council

Parish Archives and those mentioned below.

The Handbook for Parish Pastoral Councils states that the purpose of a PPC:

Is to gather representatives of the parishioners who will use their skills, knowledge and experience to help the priest run the parish. This is done by the following means:

Research and identify the needs, ideas, hopes and criticisms of the parishioners;

Evaluate the parish life and mission in the light of the Gospels, the teachings of the Church and the values and goals of the parish;

Develop, implement, review and improve parish pastoral and other programs.

Canon Law directs that the Council has to be authorized by the Bishop of the diocese; it has a consultative vote and is regulated according to the rules laid down by the Bishop.

The diocese established Parish Councils in the mid 1960s and by March 1974 there were 41 operating in the 112 parishes of the Archdiocese. This number had risen to 80 by 1994. Fr Doyle started the preliminary planning for a Council but the finalization of the plans was done by Fr Heenan.

According to Standing Orders of St Flannan’s Council 1979, the Council started with the inaugural meeting on Tuesday 4th September 1979.

The Council was made up of 18 members including the PP, Assist Priest, Holy Spirit Sister, Christian Brother from Nudgee, St Flannan’s Principal, representatives from several of the organizations operating in the parish and five other parish representatives.

Sixteen members attended which was two short of the 18 mentioned in Standing Orders.

There was no representative from Nudgee but a Brother attended a later meeting. A later list included a Margaret Hayes, probably as a Youth representative. It seems that there were no elected members but some were asked to serve because of their expertise in various fields. Fr Heenan chaired the early meetings and then Terry Carey was elected as the first lay Chairperson.

Parish Bulletin, Sunday 2/9/1979, recorded the following members who were to meet for the first time on the following Tuesday:

Holy Spirit: Sr Noela; Legion of Mary: Lu Cross;

Catechists: Mrs Thelma Stewart; Caring Community: Val Sheahan;

St V DePaul: Tom Borger; Adult Education: Terry Carey;

Liturgy Groups: Terry Oberg; Building: Guilio Bardini;

Youth Rep: Kim Newman; Finance: Bob Hulett;

P & F: Tony Mula; Secretary: Bevan Gallagher;

Ex Officio Members:

School Principal: Ken Hall;

Deputy Principal: Joan Sweeney:

Priests: Brian Heenan & Gerry Hefferan.

Bevan Gallagher recalls: From the beginning the Council had a strong pastoral focus and did not get caught up too much in administrative matters. It followed a threefold program:

1. To assist the priest in making Christ the centre of the parish;

2. To co-ordinate the working of existing organizations in the parish and to foster unity and effort to spread God’s kingdom;

3. To discuss and plan for, the growth of the parish.

Communication from and to the parishioners was important. To facilitate this, regular reports were given to the parishioners and a Suggestion Box was installed in the church for their use.

The chairperson was always selected by the Council members. St Flannan’s was one of the first Councils to elect a woman, in the person of Diane Hall, to the position.

By 1984 eight non-appointed members were being elected to the Council by the parishioners. (Bulletin 26/8/1984.) However, by the mid 1990s members were being nominated by the parishioners and a discernment process was used to select those best qualified.

The Council is a supervisory body as well as being a leader for the parish, activating the laity to take responsibility for the well being of all. Its function is to initiate activities and see that they are carried out, rather than to carry them out itself. It does such things as organize the annual parish calendar, supervise the five year parish plans, supervise the many parish ministries, organize the annual community mass, plan celebrations, maintain relations with other parishes, plan building and cope with any unusual occurrence in the parish.

Lawrie Caruana writes:

The Parish Pastoral Council is a mature, well functioning body that is designed to guide the Pastoral life and direction of the Parish. I know this from attendance at the Archdiocesan gatherings of Pastoral Councils that are run bi-annually. I have been constantly reminded of how advanced our Parish Pastoral Council is.

My time as Chairman was spent liaising with Ministry leaders, monitoring the Parish Plan and co-ordinating the Parish Synod response for our Archdiocesan synod in 2003. The council has attempted to raise the profile of our youth. Stephen Anderson has done marvelous work in doing this, culminating in Luke O’Connor’s very recent Pilgrimage to World Youth assembly in Canada.

Brayden Argent writes:

In my first term there was the initiation of the first Parish Three Year Plan (1998-2001), which set about defining the Mission Statement and priorities of St Flannan’s as a faith community. Former parishioner, Bevan Gallagher, facilitated and then compiled the findings of the input process.

Parish Pastoral Councils are a great way to get involved in the life of the parish and also to nurture your commitment to your faith with the support of the other councillors. Those with whom I have served were all men and women with different gifts to share. Some were quieter than others but all have the interests of their faith community at heart.

Fr John Chalmers in an email 26/11/2002 wrote: “The Parish Council was the most effective pastoral council of all the many parishes I have worked in. I saw the Council take responsibility for energizing the pastoral life of the parish.”

23. Parish Secretaries

Archives and those listed below.

In the old days there was no such position as Parish Secretary; the Bishop might have had a secretary, the Pope certainly did, but the parish - ! The earliest vestige of such an office was probably in Fr Green’s time when three men, Norm Ryan, Bob Hulett and Brian Baalem were appointed, after the 1959 campaign, to count the Direct Giving money each week. As for any other office work, the priest did it all.

In the early 1970s the Schools Commission brought in accounting regulations to which all schools had to comply and in 1972, Marnie Dann, who was an Accountant volunteered to keep the school books. Gradually she took over the parish books on a part time basis for Fr Doyle.

When Fr Heenan arrived Marnie continued the work and began to do secretarial work. When computers appeared, St Flannan’s was one of the first parishes to use them, and she wrote a program in Basic to deal with the school fees and other data. This program was still in use in 2001. Bishop Heenan, in a recent letter, complimented Marnie by writing that her “accounting skills and office management made a significant difference to the running of the parish”.

Before the Parish Administration Centre was built in July 1993 the parish office was in the Presbytery, off the present front patio. It was small, cramped and hot, or cold, in season. An even smaller printing room was nearby with a photocopier and paper stores.

The early bulletins, or newsletters, consisted of a sheet of foolscap paper and were supplied by the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart. One side was printed with details of the current Sunday readings and other information, and the other side was blank. This side was then printed with all the information the priest wanted to communicate to the parishioners. The first ones appeared as early as 1976 and for many years Trish Corbett typed up the weekly parish bulletin.

Marnie retired on 13th October 1995 after approximately 23 years service to the parishioners of St Flannan’s and she was greatly missed. With any personnel change, other changes follow and so it was with some office procedures. This caused friction with some parishioners who were used to the old ways and some even complained to Fr Warbrooke. However, with time, both they and the secretaries gradually adjusted to each other.

Lauren Montoccio explains the functions of the Parish Secretary:

I commenced work in the Parish Office at St Flannan’s on 1st August 1994, working two days a week. When Marie Moffat, who had been working one day a week for six years, left in mid 1999, the time increased to two and a half days. Marie used to do the banking so I took that on. The jobs are many and varied and change due to circumstance. Most importantly the Parish Office is the first point of contact with the local church for some people, so that we must provide a welcoming presence. The secretary is often seen as ‘the church’.

The job includes such things as filing, issuing Baptismal certificates, correspondence, answering phone calls, organizing the readers, preparing liturgies, printing funeral booklets, photocopying, maintaining Baptismal and other registers, updating the parish census through the networking system, and administering the planned giving system.

Prior to 1999 the secretary administered the school fees, issuing accounts, receipts, collecting payments and all the other facets of that administration. But in that year the school and parish finances were separated and both operate as independent units now.

At first, the time worked was flexible since Marnie Dann was still working full time as well. This arrangement allowed me to attend the school tuck shop as well as being able to help with the Caring Community masses and Social Club. Since 1995 my days became Tuesday and Wednesday, with Monday afternoons from mid 1999. The motto of the job is “Expect the unexpected”.

Leigh Osborne adds her experiences in the office:

I came to work in the Parish Office in November 1995. The job description was “making sure everything was done to ensure the smooth running of Parish life”. Fr Ashley told me ‘any grade 12 can do the job Leigh’ and I have been trying to find that person ever since!

My second day at work Fr Ashley handed me a bunch of keys, showed me where my office was and how the security system worked, then promptly went on a month’s holiday. A man came in and asked for holy water in his jam jar. I was concerned that he had wandered from somewhere safe and secure. Many questions and solutions raced through my mind. Even if this was permissible, would I need to use a straw, or a spoon perhaps, to get it from the fonts at the Church doors into the jar? After lamely saying we were out of it at the moment (a church without holy water!), I have not seen this man since.

The workings of the parish were really much more complicated than the above indicates and they were going to get immensely more complicated in the mid to late 1990s.

1995 Workplace Health & Safety Act – everything is under constant inspection and safety checks have to be made and recorded. A new Safety Policy had to be developed, written and followed;

The 2000 Millennium Bug had to be pursued in all computerized systems in use at the time;

The 2000 amendment to the 1988 Privacy Act limited the use of personal information so a new Parish Privacy Policy had to be formulated;

The 2000 Commission for Children and Young People Act provides for a detailed assessment of a person’s suitability to work with children. An assessment policy had to be developed and followed;

Risk Assessment procedures have to be developed and adhered to as well as showing that such a policy is recorded and is being pursued;

The Goods & Services Tax really drew the Church into the tax system;

A Management Risk program has to be maintained to show how financial records, security measures, sacramental registers, privacy act provisions, etc are maintained;

Asset Management Committee takes care of land and buildings and their maintenance. “I’m the fixer for light bulbs, missing microphones, broken water mains, fallen trees, chipped paint, car park marking and rats!”

And there is the insurance crisis…………………!

Very few people have much idea about the complexity of managing a parish. Just think of managing a household and multiply it many times. Just remember the Parish Secretaries manage their homes on a part time basis and the parish on a full-time basis.

24. Playgroup – Marriage Encounter – Family Group

Jane Atkinson

The Parish Play Group began in 1977 when a group of mothers and children met weekly at the home of Jane Atkinson. The original group consisted of Jane Atkinson and Michelle – 2 years; Clare Foxwell and Michael – 3 years; Jill Mula and Paul – 2 years; Carolyn McCann and Christopher – 2 years; Elizabeth Kors and Rebecca – 2 years; Mary Roset and Chris – 2 years.

As the group grew and became too big for a small back yard, it was suggested that we move to the Parish Tennis Shed. With approval from Fr Heenan, the group commenced weekly meetings on Wednesday mornings; the numbers of mothers and children grew rapidly. The surroundings were not very salubrious with court marking lime often scattered on the floor and there was very little equipment.

In 1981, Fr Heenan decided to build an extension to the Tennis Shed for the play group to use. The numbers were growing rapidly with new babies appearing regularly. Subsequently, a second group was formed and it met on Tuesday mornings. The two groups met once a month in a combined outing to theatres, parks, animal farms, anything which was low cost and appealed to the younger children.

At the end of most years a donation was made to the St Vincent de Paul Society as a way of saying thanks to the parish for the use of the facilities.

By 1994 the Playgroup was well equipped with toys, indoor and outdoor equipment and a comprehensive set of operating rules to cover safety and guaranteeing enjoyment. Each week one mother was responsible for the organization and running of an activity for the group. A small library was available for new ideas and petty cash was used for minor purchases.

The stated aim of the group was that the “Playgroup is designed so that mother and child can together experience ‘play’, development of skills, creativity and have social contact with other children and their mothers.”

The Playgroup is still operating in 2003 and using the same tennis shed. The main change being the different faces as new mothers and children replace those of earlier generations.

In 1976, Marriage Encounter commenced in Brisbane with a number of couples from St Flannan’s becoming involved. Over the next few years many couples experienced this Marriage Enrichment weekend. Couples from St Flannan’s met regularly to enrich family values and the uniqueness of Married life. From these gatherings, couples became involved in sharing their experiences and ran a Matrimony course for Boys and Girls in Year 12 from Nudgee College, St Rita’s and Corpus Christi.

Through regular sharing and social groups the idea to spend weekends away was suggested and in 1979 the first Parish Family Group was born. (Not to be confused with the later Parish Family Groups of the 1990s.)

The first camp was at “Koonjewarre”, Springbook. The families involved on the first camp were Kevin & Clare Foxwell, Rick & Marlene Eales, Carolyn & Jim McCann, John & Carole Flanigan and Jane & Gordon Atkinson. All their children came too.

The weekend was a great success and as the numbers grew the Camps increased to three a year, also held at Rosalie Waters, Dayboro and Mt Tamborine.

At one period, in excess of 70 people were involved, including the Sisters of the Holy Spirit who were attached to St Flannan’s at the time, and teachers from the school.

Wonderful friendships were formed and a great time was shared as fathers played cricket with the children, women shared the work and families joined in card games, sing-a-longs and bushwalking.

When it was possible, one of the priests from the parish joined them for a few hours to celebrate mass. A most memorable camp was held at Rosalie Waters during the SEQEB dispute, when without power they shared in the Eucharist in the light of an open fire and candles. Fr Gerry Heffernan would arrive on his motor bike, much to the delight of the children.

As the children reached high school age, the numbers declined owing to sport and weekend work commitments. However a group of parent couples have continued to meet on a regular basis. They still have weekends away as well as share meals and friendships.

In hindsight it was the start of family groups in our parish.

25. The Quilters

As told by Margie Morton-Green

The Sisters of the Patches was formed in 1994 with mothers who were all associated with St Flannan’s school. Two mothers, Margie Morton-Green and Angela Jefferies, who have a love of patchwork, held an exhibition.

Since other mothers in the parish like to sew, Angela and Margie decided to form a cottage patch group to meet one day a month. This was, and is, a day off for them to gather in one of their homes and sew patches. So the Piece makers were formed to make many pieces into quilts and find some peace in their lives.

They regard themselves as an enclosed order because the size of the houses limits their number to nine women. The husbands are known as Quilt Widowers.

They held another exhibition in 1996 in the library which was more secure than any other room. The quilts are beyond price because so much of the makers’ personalities, psyches, and selves go into each one. Some of the quilts were borrowed from other groups so security had to be high. So high in fact that not one Saint Peter, but four, were enlisted to watch over them. Peter Ritchie, Peter Rossberg, Peter Bradfield and Peter Erbecher all took turns to sleep in the library overnight for the period of the exhibition.

The proceeds went to special needs in the school and to provide computers for the library.

One of the members had a unit up the coast so they decided to go there for a weekend retreat. It was so successful that they repeated the exercise and now do it three times a year, twice up the coast and once elsewhere. The idea is to arrive on Friday equipped with food for the weekend and spend the evening talking and socializing. The following morning a walk is taken and after breakfast it is ‘noses to the grindstone’ till Sunday, when they return home.

Each Christmas they go out for lunch and make gifts for one another. The gifts are put in a bag and each draws out a gift. One Christmas they drove to visit various quilt shops. Christmas 1999 saw them making the Jesse tree for the school. The children placed the symbols on the tree for 29 days and then it was placed in the church for the celebrations.

At present they are in the process of making their healing quilt. Each block represents who each individual woman feels she is. The quilt will remain part of the group and will be given to any member who is having difficulties to help them through that time. Since the others cannot be with the suffering one all the time, the quilt will be with the person and the group will be there in the quilt.

There is a great deal of sharing of experiences within the group, especially when the members live together on retreats. The sharing is confidential in this little community and a lot of emotions, memories and experiences go into the gentle art of patch work.

St Flannan’s has a massive quilt that was hung at the exhibitions. It was first hung at an Open Air Mass and was made by the families of the parish. Each family made a block, or patch, representing their selves.

Originally, the quilts were probably used as bedspreads, but now are used for decoration as well. One group makes quilts for stillborn babies. The body of the child is wrapped in the quilt and given to the parents who then cuddle the dead child as a farewell gesture. They then take the quilt home with them and keep it in memory of the child. Other quilts are the Epilepsy and AIDS quilts, both of which remember the ones who have died from the respective illnesses.

26. Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA)

Tom McCarthy & Jane Atkinson:

One of the recommendations from the Second Vatican Council, attended by Archbishop Rush, was to restore the system used in the early Church for the preparation of those who wanted to enter the Christian Church. These people were adults and were called Catechumens. That is an adult who, never having been baptized previously is baptized and then receives the sacraments of confirmation and Eucharist.

Accordingly, Archbishop Rush encouraged all parishes in the Archdiocese to use the restored system now commonly known as the RCIA for the admission of Catechumens and additionally Candidates. A Candidate is an adult who has been baptized in another Christian denomination. They are not baptized again but receive the sacraments of Confirmation and Eucharist thus entering into full communion with the Catholic Church.

In 1980 St Flannan’s parish joined another nineteen parishes and took up the invitation. Since that time one hundred people have used the program as a vehicle to enter fully into communion with the Catholic Church at St Flannan’s.

The first program began in August 1981 with a series of three meetings, called enquiry nights, in the School library. These were to give people an idea of what the Catholic Church believes and practices and to let them ask questions. Those who wanted to continue were allotted support people to journey with them and were then placed in one of four groups led by Gordon & Jane Atkinson; Bev & John Cathcart; Brian & Margaret Connolly; Bevan & Maureen Gallagher.

The first eight people to complete the program at Easter 1982 were Kaye Barber, Lurelle Gilfoyle, John Barff, Roslyn Jenkins, Julie Fedrick, Mal Shannon, Frank Ford and Gwen Walsh.

The groups met weekly sharing a set program using printed sheets and tapes, followed by discussion and questions. Later, in St Stephen’s Cathedral, the Archbishop presented the Travellers with a copy of the Nicene Creed. The Travellers were presented to the St Flannan’s parishioners at masses early in the program and prayed for by the congregations till Easter. Gatherings were also held in the church where customs, beliefs, and church items were explained.

At first it was necessary for the parish to develop its own program. This was done by the Catechumenate Team led by the then Parish Priest, Fr Brian Heenan. Subsequently, Brisbane Catholic Education has assumed responsibility for the production of material relative to the program. The chief book of texts is known as “At Home With God’s People” and is used for the duration of the program which lasts about 25 weeks from September to the Easter Vigil in the following year.

Although not specifically designed for that purpose, the RCIA at St Flannan’s has been used for re-entry into, and recommitment, to the Catholic Church. This provides the Candidates with re-education in church practice, especially post-Vatican II teaching.

St Flannan’s RCIA team has endeavored to keep in touch with all past RCIA participants. To this end, an annual reunion is held, usually on Pentecost Sunday, the ‘birthday of the Church’. There have been 100 candidates who have completed the RCIA program between 1982 and 2003 while many others have done the course to improve their knowledge of the faith.

The youngest candidate to complete the course was Kate Brown, aged 12, who wrote the following account of the ceremonies at Easter 1999:

On the 3rd April, 1999 I was baptized. When I woke up that morning I couldn't believe that the day had finally come! I had been going to the R.C.I.A. for about 8 months.

When I arrived at church that night with my father I was so nervous. The ceremony began outside with Father John lighting the Baptismal Candle, and then the people who were getting baptized lit their own baptismal candle from the larger one. We proceeded inside. Once we were inside the Mass followed on as usual until after the Homily. Then came the time for me to be baptized! When my name was called I was to go up onto the altar with my sponsors and my godparents. I then put my head over the baptismal font and Father John baptized me. I turned to my godfather who dried me off and then to my godmother who placed a sash around me. I went back to my seat. After a little while I was to have my Confirmation, so once again I left my seat and went up on to the altar where Father John confirmed me. When the time to have the Eucharist arrived I went up first and received my First Holy Communion. This was very special to me, to receive the Eucharist for the first time. I had so often seen my father receive it; I couldn't believe that the time had actually come!

After the actual ceremony had finished I was presented with a gift from the parish and there was a party waiting for me. That night had been so-much anticipated for such a long time that I couldn't believe that the ceremony seemed so short! I am very proud to say that I am now a Catholic!

Laurie Caruana writes:

I moved into the Parish in 1977 which was the same year that Father Brian arrived at St Flannan’s. However, I was in no way a regular attendee at Mass nor was I involved in a meaningful way in Parish life. In 1997 I started to attend Mass regularly with my wife Vikki. The following year Vikki commenced the RCIA, and I attended as a supporter.

I enjoyed the RCIA experience so much that I have continued actively in that ministry until the present time. Tom McCarthy runs the program now that we have no Pastoral Assistant, and has approached me to help run a group this year, 2002, which will culminate with the Easter festivities in our Jubilee year!

The RCIA …discusses our beliefs as Christian people from a Catholic point of view.

The program is not run like a classroom but runs as a discussion group that is freewheeling and often revolves about questions and answers. I find each year a little different and have made many new friends through this wonderful program.

After many years working in the RCIA, Julie Street writes about how she felt after the first year:

“…….I was hooked! This was mainly because I was learning more about my faith, myself, and my convictions than I had before in my adult life. I felt really challenged and wanted to learn more.” Still later she added “It’s been inspiring to hear their (the catechumens) stories but the biggest kick I get from being involved is seeing these new Catholics become part of our community, attending Mass regularly and also becoming involved in other aspects of our Parish and School.”

And so the journey continues…………….

27. The Sacraments of Initiation - Baptism

Those mentioned below.

In 1981, Fr Brian Heenan asked Joan Luck to make robes for the children being baptized. The robe, decorated with symbols of baptism, fitted over the child’s head and down both the back and front. She also made the sashes given to the RCIA candidates when they are baptized and confirmed at Easter. The sash is the adult version of the Baptismal Robe. After 20 years of service Joan retired in 2001.

The work continues with the Baptismal Robes being screen printed by Vikki Caruana while Ruby Lavery does the sewing. On the robes the following words are printed:


The Robe and the Sash are symbols of St Paul’s message as adapted by Carey Landry: “You are baptized in Christ; it is Him that you have put on. Have hope of eternal life. You are a new creation in Christ. You have been clothed in Him. See in this garment the outward sign of your dignity.”

Barbara McCarthy makes the sashes for the adults using a 75mm wide white ribbon. On them she paints the symbols of Dove (Peace), Cross (Suffering) and Candle (Light of Christ).

The Sacramental Program

Andrew Oberthur & Kate McLean

The Sacramental Program was promulgated by the Archdiocese in 1988 but the parish did not take it up till 1991. The changes were innovative, and worried some people as this was one of the biggest changes since the dramatic changes in the Liturgy (Mass) and Reconciliation (Confession) of the late 1960s and early 1970s.

The old method of preparing children for the sacraments of Reconciliation, Communion and Confirmation was done by the teachers in the Catholic schools. The order was Reconciliation and Communion in Grade 3 with Confirmation in Grade 7.

The idea behind the changes was that the parents of the children, the first educators, should prepare the children. The Church saw this as an opportunity to build the relationship between church, school and family, whereas many saw it as the Parish schools walking away from their “responsibility” of preparing the children for the Sacraments.

Many parents had little knowledge of the sacraments and few had had any part in the process in the past. The parents were being asked to take a much greater role by taking over from the teachers. But first they had to be educated in the process, especially in the decision of when the child was ready to receive the sacraments.

Fr Tony Hallam approached a few parishioners, parents, catechists and school representatives to form the Parish Sacramental Team. The first members were Jan O’Brien, Brian Connolly, Jenny Ritchie, Andrew Oberthur, Anne Massingham, Carmel Gee and Mary Ford, supported by Frs Ashley and Tony. Their first task was to read the documents and to see what other parishes were doing. They then drew up a 2 year plan to implement the Sacramental Program in the parish.

The next step was to call a meeting in the parish hall for all parishioners and to tell them what the new program aimed to do, and how it would work. There were many questions to be answered and many qualms to be stilled, but the meeting agreed to adopt the program.

Then the work began of developing resources to educate the parents in the new ways. Both parents and teachers had to stop thinking of the children as a group in a class, but rather, as the individual child who had completed 2 years of formal religious instruction in school. A decision then had to be made as to whether this child was ready to receive the sacraments.

The school still gave religious instruction, but the parents were invited to enroll the child when s/he was ready. To assist the parents, information nights were held and information was also disseminated through newsletters and at weekend masses. Cluster groups of 3 or 4 families of the eligible children were formed, and they met with a Sacramental Team member to be given further instruction and help. The clusters then met on their own several times to work through the program of instruction.

While all this was going on, the parish experienced other changes with the departure of Frs Heenan and Hallam, and the arrival of Fr Warbrooke. However, the lay leadership carried on successfully and the process did not falter. This is one indication of how much the laity has assumed responsibility for activities in the parish, a direct result of Vatican II.

The Liturgical Commission of the Archdiocese has published a series of work books for the children to use with their parents as they prepare for the sacraments of Confirmation, Eucharist and Penance. The books contain a number of Themes with Parent Reflections and a series of activities for them to do with their child.

Penance or Reconciliation is delayed until the child is about 10 years old but the other two sacraments can be received earlier when the child is ready.

The preparation is conducted in three stages:

Formal Teaching (Catechesis) which is done by the school and goes on all through schooling;

Sacramental Preparation which is done by the parents at home using the workbook;

Sacramental Celebration which is the responsibility of the parish and takes place in the Church.

This process is in contrast with the traditional method used before Vatican II where the school teachers, nuns and brothers, would do all the preparation using the question and answer technique of the catechism.

28. Shalom: The Parish Magazine

Frank Conroy

The idea of producing a parish newsletter, which became a magazine, partly came out of the 1991 Parish Assembly of parishioners, Walking Together. The assembly drew up a vision for the parish to cover the next five years. The magazine was very much the brain child of Frank Conroy who got the idea of a newsletter from seeing one at Maryborough, and another at Caloundra, some years before.

He was at a Parish Council meeting as a visitor one night when the Council was discussing how to get people interrelating with one another. One of the Councillors suggested a newspaper. Frank immediately wrote a note to Sr Judith to “don’t let this one go”; she agreed.

After overcoming some initial opposition, the Council agreed to look into the idea and because Frank was advocating it he was appointed to explore its feasibility. Working with Tom McCarthy, Leigh Osborne and Michael Donovan, a proposal was developed. What they suggested became Shalom and cost about $900 per issue. It was to be distributed free of charge.

After a lot of discussion it was approved by the parishioners in April 1992 and by the Parish Council at the end of 1992. The next step was to put the first edition together.

The original Committee which Frank describes as a “damn good group which worked well together” consisted of Frank Conroy, Leigh Osborne, Jane Atkinson, Rick Eales, and Tom McCarthy. They met in Frank Conroy’s house and worked out the format of the magazine. Frank typed the copy himself. The printing was, and is, done by Don Goodair at Tartan Press in Newman Road, Geebung. Finally, after much discussion and hard work, the first copy appeared in December 1993.

The name Shalom is a Hebrew word meaning peace and is used as a greeting when meeting, and a farewell when leaving, friends. Jesus would have used it frequently. Shalom came up as a suggestion, the only one the committee could agree on.

The editorial in the first issue on December 1993 stated “The content of this first issue introduces explanations of some of our ministries as well as articles and other material which the committee feels may be of interest. Parishioners should realise, however, that the magazine belongs to them and any suggestions or comment relative to content will be welcomed.”

Shalom is a parish magazine and depends on the writings of the parishioners, their stories, family photos, parish events, celebrations, activities, organisations, births, deaths and marriages, arrivals and departures, etc. It is a chronicle of the parish and has proved invaluable for the compilation of this parish history.

At first Shalom was published quarterly till budgetary problems reduced it to a three times a year. This was the result of a compromise with the Finance Committee. The cost was too much and they wanted to close it down but the Editorial Committee suggested publishing only three copies per year. Shalom continued and the Editorial Committee was pleased because the burden of writing the copy four times a year was becoming too heavy for the small committee.

There is no charge to the reader and it is distributed by the Networkers throughout the parish to all listed Catholics. Those who come from outside the parish can collect a copy from the brochure rack in the Church.

Frank wrote an editorial about prayer in one issue and said that we should not pray for rain so much, but rather for the peace of mind to overcome the stress and be able to plan and manage the droughts. A chap from Warwick read it, got very upset and let Shalom know all about it. Thus was stirred up a little theological discussion which is a welcome spin off for Shalom.

A few people said it wouldn’t last. Well, so far so good.

29. The changing habits of the Sisters over the years

Archives, Sr Christa Murphy SSpS and those mentioned below.

When the Holy Spirit Sisters came to Australia they were expected to wear the worldwide habit or uniform that had been worn in Europe for many years. Although it was unsuited to the sub- tropical climate of Queensland no concessions were made. Many orders of Sisters had to wear black dresses and veils with white starched collars that reached half way down to their waists. The habit marked them out as being different from other women; they were special. They certainly were special; they put up with conditions that most people would not tolerate and they carried the burden of most of Catholic education in Australia. They didn’t need the habit to remind people of their dedication, but they dutifully wore it.

Before Vatican II, Pope Pius XII urged the religious orders to examine their constitutions and try to follow more closely the ideals of their founders. The women’s orders began the process and one of the changes is shown in the modified habit worn by Sr Angela where most of the starch had been dropped.

After Vatican II the Sisters assumed more control over their lives and further changes were made as the white habit replaced the black. At least the chalk dust would not be so visible. Still later, the decision to wear a habit or ordinary clothing was left up to the individual.

The table below was taken from St Flannan’s Parish Newsletter 10th February 1985 and has been updated by Sr Christa Murphy to 2002.

Where is Sister now?

Sister Place 1985 Place 2002

Agabiele (Gabriele) New Guinea RIP 1990s

Angela Daisy Hill Springfield

Balthildis Aspley/Carseldine RIP 1989

Bernadine Cherbourg Left – Social Work

Bernhilde Aspley/Carseldine RIP 1992

Catherine Petrie Left – Catholic Education

Christa Melbourne Carseldine

Christel (Gerlindis) New Guinea Germany

Clare (Mary Bernard) Petrie – Pine Rivers Carseldine

Colleen Philippines Left- Married – Social Worker

Delores (Pauline) Holy Spirit Hospital Nursing Home – Carseldine

Donna Ghana Ghana

Ehrentrude New Guinea Papua New Guinea

Elaine Aspley/Carseldine Nursing Home – Carseldine

Florista Germany RIP 1980s

Francis (Marie) Aspley/Carseldine Carseldine

Maria Gandulphis (Maria) New Guinea Papua New Guinea

Bernice (Emari) Prison Ministry Left – Married – Social Worker

Hildegaria Aspley /Carseldine RIP 1995

Josephine Aspley/Carseldine RIP 1994


Kathleen Collins Rome Sydney

Lorraine Aspley/Carseldine

Lisa R.I.P.

Lurline Daisy Hill RIP 1997

Magdolna (Magdalene) Africa Ghana

Marie Angela U.S.A. Rome

Mary Thorn Holy Spirit Hospital Carseldine

Mary Angela New Guinea Papua New Guinea

Mary Gisela Austria Austria

Mirella Aspley/Carseldine RIP 1998

Noela Salisbury Carseldine

Patricia (Mariettina) Melbourne Carseldine

Stephanie Salisbury Left – Community Nursing

Robertia Carseldine RIP 2001

The above table gives some idea of the geographic spread of the order in 1985. The column of 2002 continues the story which will go on long after this book is published.

Sr Bernard (Clare Simon SSpS) (USA) writes that she knew very little about Australia when she arrived, in fact “Aborigines and kangaroos I would expect to see on every road.” Sister arrived in the 1965 Queensland summer after leaving USA in the winter to teach 57 Grade IIs in the Blue or High School.

While her accent was a puzzle for the children, they managed to understand what she was saying. But what really puzzled them was the terminology Sister used. When she told the children working at the board “to stoop down” so the whole class could see their work no one moved. They just stared at her. Still later she jocularly called one of the boys “You little bum” the whole class really stared at her and she knew that something was very wrong. She writes “Believe me, at that time it was really bad as I found out from research. I believe that ‘bloody murder’ was a little less dangerous.”

Sister remembers that during the winter the children had to go through the mud and water to get to the toilets then putting their shoes and socks back on in the classroom. In 1967 when a new section of the school was being blessed and opened - “The rain was continuous and the ‘faithful’ remained under the Blue School rain coated and umbrellad – a good way to nourish parish togetherness.”

30. New Social Club

Carol Loughlan & Others

In 1991 the parish held a Forum to plan a strategy for the next four or five years. From this developed various groups, including the Outreach Group. After much prayer and discussion it was decided that some sort of leisure club was needed, especially for the housebound, which would cater for a variety of interests. It was not only the sick and elderly who were housebound but also young mothers with small children. They needed a child minding facility.

A couple of the parishioners went around the district talking to other churches to see if such organizations already existed. They concluded that there was such a need and it would have to cater for the whole community, not just the parishioners of St Flannan’s.

In March 1993 the New Social Club was launched in the parish hall where there was space for activities, and a kitchen for the indispensable cuppa.

Meeting monthly, the Club offered tuition in craft, crochet, knitting and bark painting, as well as card games and other activities, including socializing and chatting over several cups of tea. Guest speakers were invited at the beginning of the school terms to start proceedings for the term. Trips away were organized such as the visit to Toowoomba for the Carnival of Flowers in September 1998.

Just what activities were undertaken was left up to the members because it was their Club. Baby sitting was undertaken, on a roster basis, by volunteers and was based in the tennis clubhouse.

Around about 70 to 100 people were attracted, but this settled down to about 35 to 40 over time. There were people of all ages, varying from young mothers with their small children to retirees, all joining in together.

About two years ago the Club almost closed down due to the lack of teachers. When one teacher left to go to another organization her pupils went with her. Consequently the members were left to their own devices and had to depend on one another for ideas. So when one outlined an idea the group co-operated and took up that idea for a time. This has resulted in a lot of needlework being done, such as cross-stitch, making material floral arrangements and making articles for Florana Fair. Games mornings are also held.

There were other activities such as visits to Roma Street Gardens, a Fashion Parade at Kedron Wavell RSL and a Food Demonstration.

At present there are about 15 regular members varying in age from the late 40s to the 70s. Even though the numbers have declined the cohesion of the group has increased. With the smaller numbers it is possible for the whole Club to gather around a couple of tables and socialize over tea and bickies.

31. St Flannan the Mysterious

Archives and on the Net

One of the few things that can be said with any certainty about the good saint is that we know precious little about him. And what we do know is very uncertain. Some writers place him in the 8th Century while it seems that he did belong to the 7th Century. Like most Irishmen he was descended from kings, but in his case it was probably true. His father was the King or, rather, Chieftain of Thomond a small kingdom in Southwest Ireland in the province of Munster. Hence Flannan was a Munsterman.

He studied under St Blathmet, a famous scripture teacher of the time, and entered the monastery of St Molua (Church of Lua) at Killaloe in County Clare.

Here he established a reputation as a hard worker and a holy man. This is where the fairy tales begin to weave around him. It is 'recorded' that at one time he worked for 36 hours straight in the bakery. Then a 'heavenly light' shone through his 'left' hand. (Another version says that the light shone out of all of him) The abbot was so impressed that he retired and nominated Flannan as the next Abbot. This is typical of much of the hagiography where stories passed from generation to generation are used because there are no hard facts. However, like all myths it may contain a kernel of truth. In this case, a son of a Chieftain would have much more influence than an ordinary person and so would have a better chance of being made an Abbot.

It seems fairly certain that he was the abbot of Killaloe but it would have been for reasons other than heavenly light shining out of his hand or anywhere else. Another interpretation of the ‘light’ is, if we take the light as a metaphor for the light of knowledge, or wisdom, shining from him, the story makes much more sense. An Abbot had to be a very perceptive and influential person to run a monastery, especially in the turbulent world of 7th Century Ireland.

He must have impressed the people of Killaloe because they chose him for bishop in 639. This was the custom of the time - the local people and princes chose the bishops and then told the Pope, who usually confirmed the appointment. Flannan had to travel to Rome for the Papal approval and consecration. Pope John IV could have been the pope in question if the above date of 639 is correct. St Flannan is reputed to have travelled to Rome in a stone boat!

A few small islands in the Outer Hebrides off Northwest Scotland are named after him. But even here there is uncertainty as it is possible that there was another St Flannan or a monk from the Killaloe community active in Scotland.

His birth date is unknown, as is his death date. His feast day is the 18th December.

Source: Website for Clare Library, Co Clare Ireland and other sources.

The Lives of the Saints (Author unknown) (p.582) (From St Stephen’s Archives) Records that St Flannan was consecrated (Bishop) by John IV (died 642). It also records that Flannan, fearing that he might be called on to be king, prayed for a physical deformity and “scars and rashes and boils began to appear on his face so that it became most dreadful and repulsive.” Several great marvels are attributed to him, as well as such Celtic practices as reciting his office immersed in icy water. Known as “Flannan, prince of Gentleness”. A footnote reads “The life of St Flannan seems to be rather exceptionally late and extravagant.”

St Flannan's Cathedral, Killaloe, County Clare, Republic of Ireland

It appears that a church was built at Killaloe in the late 10th or early 11th Century. St Flannan's Oratory was built in the 12th Century. In 1185 the church was plundered and burned in retaliation for the burning of a neighbouring church by some men of Munster. There were many small kingdoms in old Ireland and there were disputes among them. Killaloe Cathedral (St Flannan's) was built between 1195 and 1225.

The cathedral is a cruciform building with a huge square tower rising in the middle of the cross section. Built from sandstone, it is 46m (150 feet) long inside and culminates in an 11m (36 feet) high triple lancet window facing east behind the high altar.

In fact the cathedral is more like a rather large parish church. The height of the Killaloe church would be much greater than the Zillmere church. But when one compares the lengths, Killaloe would only be 9m longer than Zillmere.

Some rebuilding was carried out during the 19th Century and a major restoration took place in the 1960s.

Sources: Brochure from St Flannan's Killaloe

De Breffny, B & Mott, George: The Churches and Abbeys of Ireland - Thames & Hudson - London - 1976.

St Flannan's, Kirkintilloch, Strathkelvin, Scotland (Near Glasgow)

A Papal Bull of 1195 recognised the existence of a church at Kirkintilloch, which is near present day Glasgow. It is unknown how long the church had been there before 1195. An earlier chapel named after the saint was built to the east of the town but it is doubtful if he ever visited the place. Possibly, a monk from his community came in the early times. In 1451 a chapel was built and it housed an ancient wooden statue of the saint.

After the Reformation, from 1567 till 1874 there was no Catholic church in Kirkintilloch when a Chapel school was opened. In the 1890s the church of the Holy Family & St Ninian was built to cater for the influx of Catholic Irish and Scottish Highlanders who moved into the area in search of work. In 1952 the second St Flannan's was opened to accommodate the rising Catholic population. By 1970 it was too small and the present St Flannan's was built.

Source: McDaid, Cecilia - The Catholic Church in Strathkelvin - Strathkelvin District Libraries & Museums - 1996 ISBN 0 904966 43 7

Zillmere parishioners James & Anne O’Neil visited Kirkintilloch in 1983. The parishioners of Kirkintilloch presented the parishioners of Zillmere with an Apostolic Blessing from the Pope. The parchment is framed and hangs in the sacristy of St Flannan's. James was an altar boy at Kirkintillock and Anne’s brother was married there.

32. St Vincent de Paul Zillmere Conference

John Shirley writes:

The first meeting was held on Friday 29/6/1956. Present were: Fr Green, Brothers C Barnes, V Henderson, M R Stewart, V Coulsenr, D Story, U Geeson, E Kowalski and T Carroll. Apologies from Brothers Church and W Foat.

Brother Barnes was elected first president. The Regional Council donated ₤10 to start a bank balance to which was added ₤2/14/3 making a total of ₤12/14/3 or $25.43. The conference has never run short of money but one night the balance was a penny or one cent.

About this time, poor boxes were installed in St Flannan's and at Boondall Community Hall where mass was also celebrated. Later the monthly leaving collection was begun and still continues. At the time the local conference only kept half the funds collected from members and the parishioners, the remainder went to Diocesan Council.

In the early days Fr Greene found most cases as he visited around the parish. There were many people from other countries who came to Australia with nothing but the clothes they were wearing. Other problems included loneliness, hunger, unemployment, family problems and lack of furniture. The members visited some three to six families each week.

Today 90% of all cases are phoned through from the Society's welfare office in South Brisbane to nominated members on a daily basis. As many as six cases are dealt with each day. The problems today are shortages of food, unpaid bills such as rent and electricity, alcohol abuse, car repair costs, mobile phone payments, irresponsible use of credit cards and gambling debts. With the ceaseless advertising on TV many low income earners are enticed into spending money that they are unable to repay. There is a limit to what the Society can give and most assistance is by food vouchers so that people do not go hungry. Christmas is an especially busy time with between 50 and 60 families being assisted.

The conference holds clothing drives in the parish and as much as one or two truck loads (two tons) go to the central depot. People bring the clothes to the church and the brothers also collect from homes.

Visits to the local nursing homes are a regular activity to assist the residents with company, prayer and numerous other services. Nudgee College was assisted to form a Junior conference.

Some cases seem as if the people are living in the Third world, such as when two elderly people and their 15 year old son were living in a shed divided into three rooms by cupboards. When asked where they washed the reply was, outside at night under a hose. The brothers found a bathtub, which they installed in another shed, which also served as a pan type toilet. With a hose, supplied by the brothers, the family could now bathe any time. They were delighted.

Another family had no experience in budgeting and needed help in both food and learning. Regular visits corrected the problems but then the husband developed cancer in the chin. The brothers visited him in hospital while keeping up the food relief at home.

Norm Ryan, a member of the local branch for 36 years, writes:

A good sense of humour is a basic requirement of any Society member, together with trust and understanding. If you doubt the sincerity of people, you receive no reward for your efforts. It is best to give and feel happy about it. If at a later date you discover you have been ‘taken for a ride’, at least you know you are not the guilty party. I can recall us being ripped off by a woman for over two years before her husband, who worked out of town a lot, told us his wife was a liar.

My first home visit was late 1958, to a deserted wife with nine children. My fellow member operated a grocery store at the time and we were able to deliver some groceries late at night. She had very little furniture in the ‘Housing Commission’ house and the children were sleeping on the floor on part of a blanket. The woman had cut up the blankets she had so each child had something to sleep on or under. I can still see those kids ‘hoeing’ into dry Weetbix. Not included in the minutes of our next meeting was the fact that my friend had given some blankets to the family.

Another sad case of a family living in a ‘Housing Commission’ home involved their inability to pay for their electricity bill which was subsequently cut off. The unfortunate family were of fairly low intelligence and the wife suffered from epilepsy. Every internal wall in that house had a big hole in it from where the woman had fallen head first.

During the earlier times of St Flannan’s Conference we did not have leaving collections and relied solely on our member’s contributions and those of our generous Parish Priest, who often had a win on the horses. Our meetings were held in the hall, classrooms or wherever we found space until such time as we built the meeting room under the church. Father Greene was always pushing the sale of Catholic literature which was one of the principal works of the Society at that time. I can recall him suggesting we obtain a trolley or a fruit barrow and push it around after mass. This did not happen but we did have three goes at building a piety stall under the church.

The first attempt involved an area two stumps uphill and two stumps towards Beams Road starting from the presbytery side. We dug foundations, poured a concrete floor and with ripple iron donated by Mr Barry Bunney, we put up walls. Barry painted everything and I mean everything, with some spray painting machine. The second attempt took us through to the Beams Road side of the church where the existing doors are situated. This then created the need for counters and display cupboards to be built. At the time I had access to quarter inch plate glass from service station windows and with a little help from a glass firm we did not have to pay for any glass used.

The third section involved a lot of excavating work and if Bobcats were available in those days we did not know about them nor did we have the funds to hire one. Most of the work of excavation was done by Mr Ned O’Connor who now lives in a neighbouring parish. Ned worked tirelessly, digging, barrowing to his trailer and then emptying the trailer near the oval. The brick wall was erected by Mr Gulio Bardini and Mr Brian Hayes with my assistance as chief mud (mortar) mixer. I think Gulio had a hand in the supply of the bricks and concrete floors …….. a very generous man.

With the help of fellow parishioners we set up a bingo basket, box, boards and marbles etc. From the profit we made we were able to spend it on such things as tables, Laminex for the tuckshop counter and cupboards etc.

During my early years in the Society, Festival meetings were held regularly and always at a different parish. We travelled all over Brisbane and enjoyed many wonderful afternoon teas. Mr Cec Barnes, a local businessman, was our usual driver. Cec was a smoker and it was not wise to sit behind him as he used to ash his cigarette out his open window!

There is another article regarding the Society that mentions the work of Mr Ed Kowalski. I have known Ed for forty-seven or forty-eight years and found him to be the most generous, loyal, devoted man to church and family that I have ever known. He was a foundation member of the St Flannan’s Conference and would still be an active member if not for his health problems. In October 1995 Ed, at the age of 74, received one of the 26 Premiers Awards for his work in the Society. Well done Ed.

Another of our ‘special works’ duties was hospital visitation and we used to visit Chermside during the days of the ‘portable’ buildings. One inmate we only knew as ‘Greenie’ had us fooled for a long time. As a lot of kids know, Ed always carried lollies around with him and he used to give ‘Greenie’ lollies until we found out that he was a diabetic. Greenie would ask for a couple of Digesters (Reader’s Digests) every week before we found out he was blind. Another inmate we were fond of was Bobbie who once worked in a sawmill and somehow was affected by timber sap and lost both his hands. He still rolled his own cigarettes though!

I can only describe my thirty-six years as a member of the St Vincent de Paul Society as a very memorable and learning time. I have met some wonderful, generous and humble people whom I will remember for the rest of my days.

There were few female members in the past but today there are five in the conference of ten active members. The membership has varied over the years between 8 and 14 members. In 1999 Anne Russell was elected as the first female president. This is a great change from the ‘old days’ and indicates that the society is able to change with the times.

The Report for the financial year 2001- 2002 records that the Society paid out $17,254 for Food Vouchers, Electricity, Gas and Emergency Rental plus other charitable works. The total expenditure amounts to $26,700, most of which comes from within the parish in the monthly ‘leaving collections’ and the special Christmas collection. In 2002 the Christmas masses collection amounted to $2,500.

And the work continues.

33. Sunday Night Dances

Norm Ryan, M&T Stewart and Bernie Smith

In the 1950s St Flannan’s ran the only Sunday night dance on the North side and large numbers of people were attracted. With between three to four hundred dancers each Sunday night at two shillings (20 cents) a head the money rolled in. The ‘door’ would be worth around £30 to £40 per night which amounts to something like £1,500 to £2,000 per year. This was an enormous amount of money for that time when a house could be built for less than that.

The band consisted of saxophone, drums, clarinet, piano and accordion, along with a singer. The sale of soft drinks would go a long way towards paying for the band especially on hot summer nights. The progressive barn dance used to form a double horse shoe to accommodate all the dancers. There were no wallflowers in the progressives. The dances went on for years but stopped when the ‘stomp’ started as Fr Greene was worried that it would damage the floor. He might have been right but maybe the dances had run their course by that time.

Norm Ryan recalls:These were not so much social events for the parishioners but rather a fund raising venture that tapped the entertainment needs of the north side. They were also a ‘workathon’ for a few. One man in particular worked his ‘guts’ out for the duration of this fund raising event. He was Bill Winning, who with his helpers would prepare the hall on Saturday morning by moving the school desks and forms from the dance floor area and stacking them one on top of the other in the small area between the wall behind the altar and the stage. This was a small area of approximately six feet by the length of the stage.

The desks and forms were seven to eight feet long, made out of a pretty hard timber and were not light. For every desk there was a form as well as blackboards, cupboards, tables, etc. The desks and seats were all numbered and had to go back exactly as they were, otherwise we would hear about it from the Sisters.

Bill would then sweep the floor and ‘bag’ it with kerosene and candle wax etc. Then on Sunday night Bill would be there as ticket seller or doorman. After the dance ended about 11pm he would then help return the school furniture. No roster for Bill, he was there every weekend. Rest in peace Bill, you deserve it.

Norm adds that they used to sell soft drinks at the dances. Put ice in large metal tubs and add the drinks. As the night wore on the ice would melt and the drinks would be on the bottom of the tub of very cold water. In wintertime the sellers’ hands would be almost frozen as they reached into the tubs for the drinks.

Bernie Smith recounts: As I was making my way past the presbytery after one of the dances, Fr Greene approached me and asked if I would keep him company for a while, as he had received news that his young nephew had died in Ireland. We talked for about an hour. As I was leaving, about 1am, I realised that my wife, Fran, would be very worried, wondering what had happened to me. Little did I know, that by that time, she was concerned enough to wake up the neighbours, Kevin and Eileen Spicer, across the road. Just then she saw the light from my push bike coming down Zillmere Road. She told me later that she had visions of me being beaten up or something like that, as we had some unruly crowds at times at the dances and had to call the police now and again. Anyway, everything turned out fine.

The parishioners were young in those days and nothing was too much trouble.

34. International Year of the Volunteer

Fr John

Anyone wanting to see the real meaning of this International Year of the Volunteer need only look at the day-by-day, week-by-week workings of our Parish community. Volunteer helpers add to the flavour of Parish life, and come in all shapes and sizes, all ages and both sexes! They keep the Parish's blood pumping, making sure that the necessary jobs get done.

Some volunteers are quite visible - responding to the public appeals for assistance - at Liturgy for example (here at St. Flannan's we have over 250 people "rostered", all exercising various ministries, or completing regular tasks). Others work behind the scenes, and their efforts never receive any notoriety in the public domain. The work that they do is often completed with a "minimum of fuss" and so remains anonymous. Many people prefer it that way.

To all those who lend their assistance to our Parish family, and to the wider community, I take this opportunity to say a heartfelt "THANK YOU". Your help is appreciated and efforts valued, and even though you don't receive regular recognition, our Parish simply couldn't exist without you. As was very evident in the running of the Sydney Olympic Games, it's not always the "up-the-front" people who actually make things work. The same is true for our Parish. My task as Pastor is made workable by all those helping in all the different areas of Parish life.

When Archbishop Bathersby last visited St. Flannan's, he went away impressed and confident that our Parish was strong and healthy. He remarked that not many Parishes have the same level of participation as we do - from the visits to people's homes by the Networkers, to the care shown by the members of the local St. Vincent de Paul Conference and Care and Concern groups.

On a weekends in January, the Gospel related to the story of the Wedding Feast at Cana. The attendants were told to "do whatever he tells you." They did so, and the miraculous occurred! I would hope that all those who make up our Parish community would be willing to respond in like vein. There are tasks to be completed, problems to be solved and challenges to be confronted. Thankfully the Lord promises that He will journey with us, and help us along the way.

A special word of challenge to the younger members of our Parish. Perhaps it is time for you to accept the responsibility of being the emerging adults here at St. Flannan's, and to willingly offer the many talents and skills you have, so that we can remain a strong and vibrant community. Those who came before you responded with incredible generosity and sacrifice. Are you not capable of the same, and much more?

To all, thank you for what you do as we continue our journey together. Your Fellow Traveller.

35. Youth – Sport – Antioch – Support - Etc

Archives and those mentioned below.

Youth forms a transient group in a parish. Children are born; they grow, go to parish school, go to secondary school, go to work, leave home, marry and have children. So the cycle begins over again and again but mostly somewhere else other than the parish of their parents.

Strenuous efforts are made to educate them and socialise them in the parish. The school is well organised and the children have no choice, they have to go to school. This is the time when it is fairly easy to organise social activities for them and keep them coming to mass. When they move on to Secondary school, the teenage years, they are beginning to form their own personalities and want to make more choices. It is a time when they want to socialise outside the parish with their friends and in sporting clubs.

This is the age group that the parish has tried to organise with such activities as Football, Tennis, Antioch, Dances, Youth Support Group, etc. But most, if not all, of these activities cater for only a small proportion of the parish youth. Probably they are like the adult Catholics with only about 15% directly involved in the parish. What do the rest do?

Organising youth activities within the parish has become increasingly difficult as the century advanced. With better transport the young people have been able to go to outside entertainment. So whatever the parish offered had to compete with whatever else was offering. Peer pressure, the ‘cool’ entertainment at the pubs and clubs, movies on all nights, television at home, telephone to organise the group, money to spend, part-time jobs, the generation gap, etc. The wonder is that any young people are left in the parish.

The fact is that the local parish, or for that matter the diocese, is not wealthy or powerful enough to do much for the social life of the young people. Parents have to start thinking outside the parish where the young people are found.

1. Tennis Club and the Tennis Court

Ann Berton, sister of Bill Fox who is mentioned in the text, supplied the following information:

The earliest known youth activities at St Flannan’s were in the late 1950s when a group of young people formed a tennis club and then decided to build their own tennis court on the Church property.

The Catholic Leader noted: About 5 May 1960, the Tennis Club was established in September 1959 with the founding members being Richard and John Barnes and Bill Fox.

They started playing on a hired court and then built their own court.

The Express - (Forerunner of the Bayside Star) -11/5/1960, recorded the opening of the new court. Zillmere Court Opened. Last Sunday, 1st May, at St Flannan’s Parish Hall, North Zillmere Catholic Youth Organization opened its new tennis court.

The championship sized tennis court was built by the voluntary labour of the organisation’s 29 members, the majority of whom are under 16 years of age.

Working on Saturdays only, the court was constructed in just 4 1/2 months. All finance was raised from the members and their families who were thanked for their efforts and support by the President, Mr Bill Fox.

The original idea and the brains behind the whole organisation was Mr Richard Barnes, now Assistant Research Engineer with Sugar Refinery Limited at Mackay. In his opening speech Mr Barnes stressed that “many organisations fall through because of lack of finance but we have by our own hard labours secured our own source of income.”

Three trophies were presented to the most enthusiastic members, the winners being Raymond Lockett, Barry Bilsen and Peter O’Hagan.

A copy of the first issue of the Zillmere Catholic Youth Organisation “Que De Nouveau” (What’s News or New) supplied the following:

The club held a picnic on Sunday 18th Dec 1960, at 10am at Petrie. A bus was provided for those who had no transport. Parents were asked to help out if they had cars. (Not many people had cars in those days.)

Minutes of the first Annual Meeting, with no date (probably Sept 1960,) recorded the report on the year’s activities by Bill Fox - (It is a very witty speech.)

The organisation ZCYO came into being on the 5th July 1959 and on the 6th Sept it was decided to build a tennis court. Fr Greene was present and agreed. Finance was provided by a Silver Circle at one shilling a ticket. The picnic on the 18th Dec resulted in a few cross mothers as the children were late home.

Bill describes the building of the court: They had to break up concrete slabs, level the land, spread many loads of black ashes over the site, and “we came to work white and went home black”. Then laying the decomposed granite, helped by Norm Ryan and his dumpy level, erecting the pipes to carry the wire netting, assisted by Mr Cartwright, the only parent who came to help; others assisted financially. A few more socials were held in which “the habit of eating 4 pounds of cherries in one minute was successfully cultivated.”

Finally the Official Opening was on 1st May 1960. Fr Hayes, who was filling in while Fr Greene was on a visit to Ireland, hit the first ball over the net and also the first one over the wire netting. Starting with 8 members they had, by that time, 34.

It is worth noting that the club and the court were run by young people and the parents seem to have had little involvement except to supply some finance.

Ann Berton (sister) supplied the following:

Bill Fox was killed by a bolt of lightening at Marchant Park while playing cricket. He was making up the numbers on the opposition team as a fielder when killed on 19/11/1961- he was 23 years old. (The pulpit at St Flannan’s is a memorial to Bill and his father, also named Bill)

It is not certain how long the club lasted after the departure of Richard Barnes and the death of Bill Fox but the Tennis Court did last and was heavily used until it was replaced with the present two sealed courts.

Memories of Zillmere Catholic Youth Organization by Ray Lockitt:

Ray was from Wavell Heights but rode his bicycle to Zillmere to play tennis with the Barnes Boys and Bill Fox. It was the highlight of his week. Then they decided to build a court at the parish and he thought that they only had to clear the lantana. Then they found the thick slabs of reinforced concrete underneath. “Thank Goodness we were young and fit and so enthusiastic.”

During the construction of the court a small bulldozer was used. One Sunday morning after tennis had finished one of the boys tried to “have a little drive of the machine” “much to the horror of most of the female members present! Boys will be boys.”

Since money was short they decided to erect the fence around the court, initially to half height, (one run of wire netting). “This had the added and unexpected benefit of requiring many sorties into the adjoining Italian’s strawberry farm to retrieve stray balls!”

On Saturdays the court was watered, rolled and marked ready for the Sunday tennis. There was a sort of shelter shed under the huge Camphor Laurel tree. One year, they entered the C grade competition of the Catholic Lawn Tennis Association. There were social get-togethers, mostly at Fox’s place in Zillmere Road and at least one dance in the parish hall.

Regular meetings were held and office bearers elected. Ray was the last president before the organization wound up at the final meeting in early 1962.

2. Young Mothers’ Tennis Club

Eileen Guy remembers that a ladies club operated on weekdays and they brought their littlies. There was no dispute about line balls as the line was marked by the ball. Bill Foat would roll the tennis court by pulling a heavy roller over the surface and then line the court using a bucket of lime water and a brush. The ladies did the upkeep when Bill was not available. They charged 2 shillings each, to buy the balls; any money left over went to Fr Doyle, hopefully to build new courts. There wasn’t much money left over. Competitions were held with Boondall ladies at Roscommon Rd, Boondall and they would visit St Flannan’s. The children were able to play QCLA competition on Sunday mornings. A coach was available for the younger players who paid a small fee to learn.

3. The Y.C.W. or Young Christian Workers - Dennis Kent records:

In the very early 60s Fr John O’Callaghan from St Dympna’s asked Dennis, one of his working youth to help him start the YCW at St Dympna’s and to visit the neighbouring parishes inviting their youth to come along.

Dennis visited Fr Greene and extended an invitation to the youth. He remembers Mr Winning being present at this meeting. About eight of St Flannan’s young people attended the YCW at Aspley where the meetings were led by Fr O’Callaghan.

The first part of the meeting was for the business of arranging the monthly outing to other YCW dances, mainly at Wavell Heights, bus trips etc. The second part consisted of Father taking the boys aside and giving them a talk. At the next meeting he would do the same with the girls.

We all enjoyed our meetings. To have a priest interested in you, encouraged us to stay faithful to our mass and gave us Catholic friends, and also their parents enjoyed having you at their home.

4. Youth Football Team of the 1970s:

John Shirley

In 1975 the newly appointed Assistant Priest, Fr Michael Campbell, took over the organising of the youth of the parish. John assisted him by starting a Rugby League Team. The players were P Hayes, B Hayes, T Cleary, K Ferguson, I Flannery, T Shirley, M Harrison, D Kelly, J O'Brien, P Thompson, W Anderson, L De Luchi, M Moore, B Bardini, B Stewart, J Stewart, and B Currie.

During the year the team played 16 games, winning 5 and making the semi-finals in the B grade YCW football competition. They were beaten in the 2nd semi-final.

In 1976 another team was made up of many of the above members plus V Donovan, N Trushiem, Mark Newell, G Kosier, P Wald and K Wald. By this time the club had attracted a small but very vocal band of fans many of whom were young ladies of the parish. This faithful band cheered the players on at all the games and took part in the many BBQs that were held at the Shirley home.

On 22/10/1976 a letter was sent to the Brothers Rugby League for permission to enter a team in their competition. Another letter was sent asking them to be our parent club. This was approved with the suggestion that the name of our club be Brothers St Flannan's. The newly formed club, which replaced the earlier YCW competition, played in BRL 2nd Division but did not have a playing field. Banyo Seminary was approached and they granted St Flannan's permission to use their fields provided they mowed the grass and marked out the fields.

The team was made up of members of the St Flannan's team and several Seminarians as well as some ex St Patrick's boys. The team played well against other clubs that had been in the competition for many years. They reached the semifinals in the second year but were beaten.

However, times change and few new faces joined the club, while old members were getting married and leaving. After about 5years from 1975 to 1979 the club finished with many happy memories and many firm friendships.

5. Youth Masses and Camps

Pam McSweeney (nee Thompson) writes of the Youth Group: 1974 – 1979

What wonderful, fun times these were. Fr Doyle & Fr Mike Campbell were our parish priests and they were regularly assisted by many seminarians. Bill Finn was one of these men of whom I have fond memories.

Most of our group of teenagers went to school at Corpus Christie, Sacred Heart, St John Fisher and St Patrick’s. We met every Friday night for our spiritual gatherings followed by plenty of socializing and a few smokes at the back of the old school.

We then had our own football team “Brothers St Flannan’s” which we went off to every Sunday, followed by mass on Sunday evenings then Pizza and lemonade in the presbytery afterwards.

We painted the inside of the presbytery for Father’s Day one year. We regularly joined with other parishes for Friday night dances.

A great highlight of this era was our Rock Services. Those who couldn’t sing soon learned. The seminarians gave 100% support to our youth by helping out with music and singing. The walls used to burst with people and the roof lifted with song and music. This is when Liturgical dancing was introduced to our parish.

Once a year we set off for camp. The older boys from our group used to drive and we were always supported and supervised by Ruby Lavery, Helen Urbas, Eileen Weatherhead, Fr Mike and Bill Finn. Those camps are another story in themselves.

I left for Europe in 1980 and on my return I found the group had started a netball team. Some friends had got engaged, married or moved on. The next generation had moved in. I stayed on with Maureen Corbett and Peter Truosheim as supervisors, but only for a short time, as I moved on to Perth.

6. Dances

Ruby Lavery remembers that in the late 1970s and early 1980s dances were held in the Parish Hall for the young people with music provided by a Disc Jockey. The target group was the students in Secondary school who had previously attended Primary at Zillmere. It was an attempt to keep them together and in touch with the parish. It was run by the parishioners with the men patrolling outside the hall as the students had to go outside for the toilet.

An article in the Parish Bulletin 20/1/1980 called a meeting of parents and helpers to start the youth groups for the year. There had been two groups in 1979, one for Grade 8/9 and another for Grade 10-12 plus the working youth. Eighty members in all with 7 people aged between 18 and 26 supervising. So far in 1980 only two had volunteered as supervisors. A few parents had helped with transport in 1979. The meeting was held and a small note in the following bulletin indicated that the group seemed happy with the outcome, but no detail was given.

7. Antioch - John & Carol Flanigan, Rick & Marlene Eales

Antioch was established as a ministry of youth, for youth and by youths, to interact with each other to face the pressures of the day, and express their Christianity with each other. Each group, once formed, then was expected and encouraged to reach out to other parishes.

Antioch was initiated by Fr Brian Heenan in September 1984 in St Flannan’s Parish. He rang Carole & John Flanigan and asked if they would accompany a group of Year 11 youths for a few hours at an Antioch meeting on a forthcoming Friday night at St John Fisher College. The ‘meeting’ was a full weekend run by the Bracken Ridge Parish, and included a group of youths from Sandgate parish.

The weekend was so successful, the youths from St Flannan’s hosted their first weekend for other Parishes in February and again in September 1985. St Flannan’s youth continued to hold weekends over the Labour Day holiday weekend in May each year until 1992.Weekly meetings were held after Sunday evening mass and attracted large numbers where youths expressed their feelings about their faith and their everyday living.

The Antioch movement at St Flannan’s established a format of Sunday night mass attendance followed by a meeting. The meeting involved young people who had experienced an Antioch weekend and consisted of talks by a fellow Antiocher, music, games and shared prayer.

The Antioch group attended workshops that helped them to prepare liturgies for Sunday evening mass and led to the introduction of several Rock masses held in our church. These were greatly supported by our Parish Priests and the youth sang, played musical instruments, dramatized the Gospels and performed liturgical dances.

Other parent couples to join Antioch and offer many hours of assistance with much dedication were John & Bev Cathcart, Rick & Marlene Eales, Gordon & Jane Aitkinson, Terri Lusk, Ann Berton, Paul and Elizabeth Kors.

The weekends involved a lot of parish support in the provision of food and accommodation for the youth involved. The billeting and feeding of some 70 plus teenagers was no mean feat. Wooden crosses presented to the young people at the celebration mass at the end of the weekend were also made by generous parishioners. Antioch provided an opportunity for the youth to become involved in activities such as organizing and running the Coffee shop at the fete each year until 1991, Rosies support group for schoolies week, Red Shield appeals, Forty hour famine, etc.

The movement ceased operating at St Flannan’s in 1993 due to lack of numbers and participating youth to run the renewal weekend. Those members that were still involved at that time joined with the group at St Dympna’s.

Many hundreds of our youth found the Living Christ through their participation in Antioch. The last meeting at St Flannan’s was in 1993. It is an interesting fact that Narelle Cathcart, nee Northfield, the last parent support person, was in the original group to attend on that Friday night in 1984.

8. Youth Support Group

Di Hall writes in Shalom Dec 1994:

At the Parish Assemblies of 1991 & 1992 it was decided to set up a Youth Task Force to try and develop a program for the young people of the parish. Out of this developed the YSG which aimed at helping the young people develop their own social life in the parish. The founding committee consisted of Jinty Bird, Diane Hall, Cathy Hardingham, Terry Oberg Jnr, Diane O’Keefe, Peter Ritchie, Kris Tribbeck and Ann Van de Graff.

Social activities included, Videos in the Administration building, Bonfire, Skating night and regular Youth Masses with supper afterwards. These succeeded in bringing between 25 to 30+ young people together for a while. In addition there was a group meeting regularly and looking for parental support to form an Antioch group.

The committee lobbied for a Youth Co-ordinator but the parish was unable to raise the finance as there were many other commitments to be met, including paying for the newly built Parish Community & Administration Centre which cost $112,000. This posed one of those hard-to-decide options, both the Admin Centre and a Youth Co-ordinator were needed but the parish could only afford one.

In the 1995 report the group was functioning with additional activities such as participation in the annual Open Air Mass, sausage sizzles.

The 1996 report carried a notice of an Open Invitation from Antioch Aspley to attend their activities with meetings each Sunday after the evening mass. This attracted some young people from the parish. St Flannan’s provided courses in Training and Leadership for the young people and help for the Support Group. A well attended Liturgical Workshop was held and some of the young people became part of the parish Liturgy Preparation Group.

Social activities continued with new additions such as Indoor Rock Climbing, Pizza Nights and a visit to Amazons.

Brayden Argent (1993 – 1996) noted:

The youth themselves were approached on a number of occasions to see what they really wanted and there seemed to be a great deal of apathy among them about involvement in, or relevance of, Church to their lives. Sadly I witnessed some youth having been coerced or forced by their parents to attend the various input evenings; this did not make for constructive input.

Workshops were conducted by the Archdiocesan Parish Youth Ministry Services to show how to approach youth ministry. However, it became obvious, unless there is peer involvement in the activities, the youth would not be interested in attending events.

My belief is that without other people their own age present, teenagers in particular will not be drawn to Church life and activities, regardless of the level of their spirituality.

9. Youth’s Disappearing Act

Holly O'Sullivan looks at the problem of the missing young people:

It is my opinion that in order for young people to make sense of the social constraints that exist within our world, they need to be provided with an outlet where they can express, reflect and find inner peace. An outlet, which I deem to be of this nature, would be the church. It is a place where I can connect with both my family and those around me on a spiritual level. To be "whole" in body, mind and soul is hard to achieve and although I have not reached such a state it is something that I consider to be worthwhile to attain.

This is not to say that by merely attending Mass youth will become whole. Rather, if we can just "get" young people to firstly attend Mass then, maybe they can realise their potential and find some answers to the life questions that plague them. I did not always enjoy venturing to church on weekends. I often believed that it was my time to do what I wanted!

Yet, when I began to immerse myself into the activities that exist such as reading, taking the children's liturgy and so on, I felt that I became a valued member of a group to which I used to find it hard to relate.

Why should they attend if they feel that they cannot relate to the music or if they believe that they will be the only ones from their age or social group?

The disappearance of youth could possibly be due to our often misjudged/misinformed ideas pertaining to their youth culture.

In summation, I challenge both the parishioners and youth to ponder how we can encourage Catholic youth to attend Mass and essentially have them participate as interest-bearing members of God's community. Whether through the incorporation of music that expresses God's word with contemporary sounds/voices or through their actual involvement in the liturgy, the choices are endless and so should be our efforts.

10. World Youth Day

In 2000, the year of the Great Jubilee, Stephen Anderson represented the parish on the Archdiocesan Youth Pilgrimage to Rome for the 16th World Youth Day with the Pope. The group of 69 pilgrims included Archbishop Bathersby.

In 2002 Luke O’Connor joined about 40 young people and Bishop Brian Heenan on a pilgrimage to Toronto for the 17th World Youth Day which was attended by some 800,000 young people. Luke represented the parish and was given support in cash and encouragement.

36. School Bus

Rick Eales and John Street recall:

When Fr Doyle drove the bus on the Sunday mass run he would teach the people new hymns. This is a good example of using time wisely when a captive audience was available.

During the week when the bus was used on the school run the school yardmen used to drive. Mr Bertwhistle, Brian Hayes and Rick Murphy were three such drivers.

One time John Cathcart was driving the bus to mass and he stopped to pick up Mrs Barnes. After she was seated he started the bus and her seat collapsed because someone had removed the screws holding the seat together. Fortunately there was no physical injury to Mrs Barnes but she was very embarrassed and the parish had to check the bus more carefully in future.

Brian Connelly completed the school run one afternoon only to find that he had one small girl still on the bus. She was very upset and wailed “I forgot to get off”. Brian asked her where she lived but she could not tell him, she didn’t know. So he drove back over the route to find her home, but to no avail. Finally, arriving back at the school for the second time, he found the child’s mother waiting, accompanied by the principal.

37. Rhodes Scholar – Stephen Daley

From Maryln McLean

Stephen came from a dairy farm in Millaa Millaa inland from Innisfail. He attended St Flannan’s school in 1988/9 for Grades 6 & 7 and then moved on to Nudgee for his secondary education in 1990. In 1994 he graduated as College Captain and Dux of the College, Captain of the GPS First XI Cricket Team, member of the GPS 1st XV Rugby team and member of the 1st V Basketball Team.

After school Stephen went back to the family property and worked for a year. He then attended the University of Queensland where he studied Veterinary Science graduating with Honours in 2000. In 2002 he was selected as a Queensland Rhodes Scholar to study at Oxford in England. He is one of nine Rhodes Scholars selected from Australia in 2002 and the eighth to come from Nudgee College since the first one in 1907.

At Oxford he will work and study for three years in research to develop medicines to make organ transplantation in humans more successful.

38. Knights of the Southern Cross

Bernie Creevey

While the Knights do not have a branch in Zillmere some parishioners have had long associations with this Order of Catholic Men through the Sandgate branch. Little is known about the Knights, not because they are a secret organization but rather they believe in the ancient Jewish - Catholic idea that good works do not need to be advertised.

The Knights were formed in 1919 when there was considerable anti-Catholic prejudice in the community which kept Catholics ‘in their place’, i.e. out of the mainstream of public life. The Knights worked to secure a ‘fair go’ for Catholics and the underprivileged in many spheres:

State Aid – Government support for Catholic Schools;

Inclusion of Catholic children in all Government scholarships;

Abolition of rates on churches and schools;

Assistance to Aboriginal missions;

Opposition to Communism;

Started a Catholic Radio Station;

Assistance to immigrants;

Setting up the federation of the Parents & Friends Associations;

Assisting in establishing an Archdiocesan Development Fund;

Very extensive involvement in setting up Aged Accommodation and Nursing Homes for the Aged under the name of Southern Cross Care.