Prayers for parishioners past and present as historic St Paul’s Church marks 170 years

Past and present parishioners were remembered in prayer at a special Mass to mark the 170th anniversary of the opening of historic St Paul’s Church at Oatlands.

Fr Peter O’Loughlin led parishioners in worship at the beautiful Pugin church last month.

Fr O’Loughlin said: “I celebrated Mass for all those – past and present over the 170 years – who have been part of the St Paul’s community. We remembered the living and the dead.

“I asked that God continue to bless them and the parish, and we gave thanks for all the many blessings over the past 170 years.”

St Paul’s Church was commissioned by the first Catholic Bishop of Hobart Town, Robert William Willson. Bishop Willson laid the foundation stone for St Paul’s on April 9, 1850.

Soon afterwards, he wrote to the Bishop of Melbourne, James Alipius Goold: “I had the consolation to lay the first stone of a little Church at Oatlands on the 9th inst—but mine will be a very humble building, still it will afford the means of accommodation to a flock for divine worship.”

The church was opened the following year, on February 26, 1851.

The current ‘flock’ has been discussing ways to further celebrate the striking church’s anniversary later in the year, but no final decisions have been made. One possibility is inviting Catholic parishioners from around Tasmania to Oatlands to attend a picnic, Mass and rosary procession in the spring.

In the meantime, parishioner Judy Gibbens said it was hoped essential maintenance and renovation works would soon start on the church. She added that parishioners were grateful to Fr O’Loughlin for his services to the parish.

Fr O’Loughlin, from Dodges Ferry, is currently providing weekend Masses in the Campbell Town Parish, following the transfer of former Campbell Town parish administrator Fr Anthony Onyirioha to his new role as administrator of the Central Tasmania Parish.

The designer of St Paul’s Church, Augustus Pugin (1812-1852), was a leading figure in 19th century architecture and design and is best known for the interior design of the British Houses of Parliament.

Main image: Giving thanks for many blessings: Fr Peter O’Loughlin (left) and parishioners at St Paul’s Church, Oatlands, which is 170 years old. Photo supplied.

Tags: Campbell Town, News, Northern Deanery, St Paul's Church