Monday, 25 May 2009

A parish pilgrimage for the Year of St Paul: Old Goulburn Cathedral

The Canberra Traditional Mass community headed to the Old Cathedral of SS Peter and Paul at Goulburn this Sunday, one of the designated pilgrimage churches for the Year of St Paul. The occasion was the feast of Our Lady Help of Christians, Patroness of Australia (in the Ordinary Form, this feast is transferred to Monday because of the Solemnity of the Ascension, but in the 1962 calendar, Ascension is celebrated on its actual date).

Goulburn was the colony of New South Wales' first inland city, and is about two hours drive from Sydney, one hour from Canberra. It was the seat of the diocese of Canberra-Goulburn until 1969.

The Old Cathedral, which is currently being restored, is the only Cathedral in the world built of greenstone (diorite porphyrite). Built between 1871 and 1887, it pre-dates St Mary's Cathedral in Sydney.

The church, which also features the use of sandstone and has a dark purple slate roof, was literally built around the 1843 parish church, which was then dismantled and taken out...

The wonderful stained glass windows were imported from Europe:

The celebrant was Fr Ken Webb FSSP.

The church features a wonderful Hill and Sons organ, one of Australia's finest:

It is believed to be the first sung mass in the Extraordinary Form held there in around forty years... Palestrina's Missa Brevis with chant propers.

You can see the lovely High Altar has survived:

And the sanctuary features a lovely brass lectern:

What the National Trust describes as the 'magnificent and impressive' brass altar rails unfortunately haven't made it back into the Church as yet:

The prayers for the intentions of the Pope were said at the end of the Mass with a view to the indulgence attached to Masses at pilgrim churches for the Year of St Paul. The mass ended (of course!) with a rousing chorus of 'Help of Christians Guard this Land'.

In honour of the feastday, many members of the community took in some local colour at the Old Brewery for lunch beforehand (no Jansenism here, even if there was some Irish music!), and a brief snack before heading home at the art deco Paragon Cafe....

Thanks to Peter Thygesen for the lovely photos.

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