Joyful journey of faith in the Fingal Valley

A pilgrimage to the beautiful Catholic churches of the Fingal Valley was a joy-filled day, according to the organisers.

Now they hope that other groups take up the challenge to make such pilgrimages an ongoing event in different parts of the state.

Some 34 pilgrims from the north, east and south of the state met at St Joseph’s Church, Fingal, in late January for Mass followed by exposition of the Blessed Sacrament and benediction. They then made the short trip to nearby Mangana for a picnic lunch, a look inside the striking Our Lady of the Sacred Heart Catholic Church, and a rosary procession.

George Town CWL secretary Wendy Fittler explained how it came about.

“The seed for this idea was initially sown by Archbishop Julian Porteous a few years [ago], when it was suggested to him that the beautiful and historic Our Lady of the Sacred Heart Church at Mangana be made a shrine so that it could be preserved,” Mrs Fittler said.

Full of grace: Colourful flowers in the rosary procession at Mangana. Photo supplied.

“This, however, was not feasible as there was no accommodation there for a priest. The idea germinated last year, when Archbishop Julian visited George Town. During a discussion around a meal shared with the Catholic Women’s League ladies, he made the suggestion that we need to be visible in the community [and] be seen to be practising our faith.”

Planning began and the pilgrimage was the result.

“It was a wonderful, special day, filled with lovely friendships, peace, spiritual fulfilment and joy.”

The organisers thanked Fr Balasundaram Antonyraj CPPS, administrator of George Town Parish, Fr Norberto Ochoa, administrator of St Mary’s Parish on the East Coast, bus driver John Taylor and the pilgrims.

Main image: Pilgrims share lunch and take in the beauty and history of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart Catholic Church, Mangana, near Fingal. The church was built in 1912, towards the end of a gold-mining boom in the area. Photo supplied.

Tags: George Town, News, Northern Deanery, St Mary's