The Church of the Blessed Sacrament Newbridge celebrates 100 years
On 3rd November, about 120 people gathered for Mass in the Church of the Blessed Sacrament, Newbridge to celebrate the centenary of the laying of the foundation stone of this pretty little church.
The church hasn’t been used for Mass since the mid-1960’s and was sold into private hands in 1971. The current owners of the Church and Convent, Wayne and Pam Moore, generously opened the church for the celebration of this occasion. With two of their daughters and the willing help of Peter Judge and other locals they transformed the interior into a prayerful worship space for the Mass. The beautiful stained-glass windows provided an artistic meditation on the Eucharist and the centrality of the Blessed Sacrament to our Catholic faith.
Newbridge was part of Rockley Parish in 1919 and the Parish Priest, Fr Francis Augustine Crowe, my great uncle, initiated the building of the church. Bishop William Hayden of Wilcannia-Forbes Diocese blessed the foundation Stone on 30th November 1919. At that time there wasn’t a Bishop of Bathurst as Bishop Dunne had died in the previous August and Bishop O’Farrell was not consecrated until 30th November 1920.
The church was eventually completed and officially blessed and opened by Bishop O’Farrell on 3rd December 1922. He described it as ‘a splendid monument to the zealous parish priest and the generosity and devotion of the small Catholic community - a red-letter day in the history of Newbridge’.
Father Tim Cahill and I celebrated the Mass and the congregation joined in enthusiastically in the prayers and singing. There were many ex-students from St Joseph’s Convent present on the day representing the day-students and boarders who completed their schooling at the Convent school under the guidance of the Sisters of St Joseph, some of whom were present on the day.
Many other parishioners from the district attended and there was good representation from the local Newbridge community. It was a great time of catching up with former classmates and friends from long ago.
After the Mass, most of those present adjourned to the Gladstone Hotel and continued to catch up over lunch. In the afternoon, Fr Paul blessed the graves of deceased family members in the Newbridge Cemetery - an annual event always well attended by the locals. No one complained about the rain that fell during the afternoon.
Everyone enjoyed the day - another ‘red-letter day in the history of Newbridge'.
Fr Paul Devitt
Photos provided by Rachel Welsh (nee Moore)