Helping hand from popular parish craft group

By Wendy Shaw

Every Wednesday the community room below St Peter’s Catholic Church at Youngtown is transformed into a creative hub for a crafty group of parishioners and friends.

There’s happy chatter and a quiet industrious hum as the talented regulars catch up, share skills and work on their projects.

These include stamping, knitting, quilting, calendars, miniature villages decorated with battery lights, card making, flower making, sewing and scrap-booking.

Colleen Curtis, of Prospect, is fashioning exquisite miniature perfume bottles from jewellery beads. Sue Bush, of Launceston, learned how to solder and wire up batteries to create her sparkling snow-capped little Christmas village scenes. Stephanie Tennant’s intricate memory book utilises recycled materials – a common theme among this gifted group who frequently repurpose trash into wondrous new treasures.

Long-time parishioner Geraldine Byrne started the ‘outreach program’ 12 years ago at the urging of the parish priest at that time, Fr John O’Connor MSC.

“I began with a group of ladies calling ourselves St Peter’s Craft Angels,” she said.

“Gathering items from our homes, we made lap quilts for raffles, greeting cards of many descriptions and we were donated saleable items for a car boot fundraiser held in our church car park.”

The group raised funds for MSC missions to buy water tanks for needy people overseas and there are plans for further fundraising to support the parish, via the sale of craft items such as beautiful handmade cards.

“We were the beneficiary of craft tools and many items from three ladies who helped our cause,” Mrs Byrne said.  

“Our craft group has grown in numbers over the years, with strong values, great companionship, and ladies of all ages.

“There is great love and dedication in doing our little craft works. We all look forward to Wednesdays, when we meet at the church community room and teach each other our talents, grow in faith and knowledge, and share a great bonding and the happy presence of each other.”

Mrs Byrne, who enjoys quilting, cardmaking and working on miniatures, said that current parish administrator Fr Damien Sladen was a ‘wonderful support’ to the group.

Fr Damien said: “It is a great initiative for the parish.

“They do wonderful work and they also help out the parish with fundraising through the sale of items such as cards.”

The group has also made welcome new additions to Fr Damien’s hand puppet collection, used for animation at Children’s Masses.

St Peter’s Craft Angels meet at St Peter’s Catholic Church, Youngtown, on Wednesdays from 9am to 4pm. New members are welcome. For details, please contact Geraldine Byrne via email on or call 0459 331 491.

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