Yass parish celebrates 180 years

Yass Parish

Parishioners past and present gathered with Archbishop Prowse to celebrate Yass parish’s 180th anniversary.

The parish and community of Yass came together on the weekend to celebrate 180 years since Bishop John Bede Polding laid the foundation stones for St Augustine’s Church. 

This church has recently been renovated and is now known as the Lovat Chapel, named after the first parish priest, Fr Charles Lovat (1799-1858) who became the parish priest of Yass in 1839.

Celebrations began with a parish dinner on the evening of Friday and finished with a morning tea after Sunday Mass on August 26 with parishioners past and present gathering at the town’s Meehan Street Catholic precinct. The foundation stone of the original (first) church was laid on August 27, 1838.

Fr Burke describes Fr Lovatt as a very holy, intelligent and well loved parish priest.

“Fr Lovatt was originally a Jesuit and was selected by the Bishop because of his academic abilities,” Fr Burke said.

“He was appointed 1839 but was here on the day for the laying of the foundation stone. Fr Lovatt was absolutely revered in Yass because of his holiness and also his outreach to Aboriginal people in particular. He was truly a missioner of extraordinary intellect and genuine holiness.”

Archbishop Prowse said that Bishop Polding’s name is one that often comes up in discussions about sainthood.

“Bishop Polding was a very saintly man,” Archbishop Prowse said.

“In fact people have been talking about him as a possible future saint of Australia.”

The three days of celebrations included a parish dinner on the Friday evening, a musical concert on Saturday evening and a special commemorative Mass at 10am on the Sunday co-celebrated by Archbishop Christopher Prowse and Father Mick Burke.

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