Our Lady of Peace
HISTORY of ST STEPHEN'S CATHOLIC CHURCH
In 2020 celebrating the 150th anniversary of St Stephen's, we pay homage to the Jesuits and our ancestors whose faith was instrumental in building this church.
The foundation stone for the church was laid and blessed by Bishop Reverend Dr Sheil on the 7th of April 1876. The first Mass was celebrated for Christmas 1869. The Blessing and Dedication of the church was conducted by the then Vicar General Reverend J Smyth on January 16th 1870.
The Church underwent quite extensive renovations and repairs in 1966. The exterior was resealed, and the interior replastered and painted. The beautiful original altar was removed and the base brought forward, enabling the priest to celebrate Mass facing the congregation in accordance with the new Church Law of Vatican II.
A large Crucifix was installed above the relocated altar with a Sacristy and Confessional erected either side of the altar.
A pre centenary celebration was held on 13th November 1966 at which His Grace, Archbishop James Gleeson officiated.
Further repairs to the church were completed in 2001, with the Church tower stonework repointed. Funds were received through the assistance of an Heritage grant and Parish fundraising from the St Patrick's Day dinner, along with contributions from other Church denomination communities in the area.
Situated atop the hill, for many years St Stephen's has been illuminated during the Easter and Christmas periods; the Light of our faith shining for all to see and appreciate as they pass through our town
Former Wesleyan Methodist Church.
This Gothic Revival Church was built in 1866-7 by Meller and Scott.
This Auburn bluestone building has symbolic pillars capped with open Bible design, stones cut with fine lines to represent the leaves of a book. A number of stones built on their edge as dressings are called “shiners.
When the Bible Christians, the dominant Methodist force in the area, and the Wesleyans merged, the building was used as a Sunday School. The cedar pulpit and railing together with the curved communion kneeler were transferred to the Bible Christian Chapel.
In 1915 it was sold to the Catholic Church.
The red cedar crucifix on the wall behind the altar was a gift of the pioneers of the Undalya Church of St. Patrick.