Former members of the Kumbia Catholic community travelled from near and far at the weekend to mark the Centenary of the opening of the Our Lady Of Peace church in town.
A special guest was Brisbane Archbishop Mark Coleridge who travelled in the footsteps of his predecessor, Archibishop Sir James Duhig, who opened the building in 1919.
Archbishop Coleridge reflected on that day and how things had changed: Archbishop Duhig had caught a train to Yarraman and then hitched a lift with a local publican to Kumbia.
He said there had been Catholics in Kumbia long before 1919 and plans for a church had been discussed.
“But then came the Great War and that threw a spanner in the works,” Archbishop Coleridge said.
It was decided the church would be called “Our Lady Of Peace”, an unusual name but one that suited a community which had “lost sons in the mud of northern France”.
Items in the new church – the altar, a statue and a silver chalice – were donated by parishioners in memory of fallen soldiers.
“The church was a statement of hope,” the Archbishop said. “A statement there was a future beyond the ash heaps, mud heaps and unknown graves.”
The centenary celebrations, which have been over a year in the planning, were kicked off with a community dinner prepared by local caterer Judy Crawford.
On Sunday morning, everyone gathered together again for a special outdoor Mass celebrated by the Archbishop, local parish priest Fr Chukwudi Chinaka and six priests who all have connections with the Kumbia church.
This was followed by a cake-cutting ceremony, the planting of a commemorative bottle tree and the release of seven white doves of peace.
Visitors also had the opportunity to browse memorabilia inside the actual church building which has been fully repainted, inside and out.
The floors have also been polished and the church reconfigured to its original layout with an aisle leading to the altar at the front of the building.