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Jurien Bay congregation called to be the Church of God at Dedication Mass

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Archbishop Costelloe lights the fire on the altar during the Dedication Mass of Our Lady Star of the Sea Church, Moora Parish, on Saturday 29 May. Photo: Max Hoh.

By Jamie O'Brien

We are both building and being built into a spiritual house for God, Perth Archbishop Timothy Costelloe SDB has said at the Dedication Mass for the new Church of Our Lady Star of the Sea Jurien Bay, on Saturday 29 May.

The new Church for the Parish of Moora was officially blessed and opened by Archbishop Costelloe who was joined by concelebrants, Moora Parish Administrator, Fr Renald Anthony, former Parish Priest and now York Priest-in-Charge Fr Chris Webb, Fr Peter Bianchini as MC, Redemptoris Mater Seminary Vice-Rector, Fr Luis Tijerino, as well as several priests from across the Archdiocese of Perth who travelled the two and a half hour journey for the special occasion.

More than 250 people from across the Moora Parish gathered for the occasion, which included the blessing of a special painting of Our Lady Star of the Sea by artist Bernadette Cartensen.

“I wanted to take this opportunity just to reflect briefly with you on what it means to say, as Paul does in the second reading this morning, that we are both building and being built into a spiritual house for God, which is built on the prophets and the apostles and which has Christ himself as the cornerstone,” Archbishop Costelloe explained, in commencing his homily for the Mass.

Archbishop Costelloe continued by highlighting three main points of what is means to be the Church of God, and started by drawing on the writings from Vatican II and specifically Lumen Gentium.

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“We, you here, who come to this parish, you are like a sacrament. This is your vocation,” Archbishop Costelloe explained.

“What does that mean? To be a sign and an instrument, a means through which God brings people into communion with Him and into unity amongst themselves,” he continued.

Archbishop Costelloe’s next point drew on a familiar expression of St John Paul II who said, ‘the Church is the community of the disciples of Jesus Christ’.

“It’s a very simple idea: first of all, we’re a community, but we're a community of disciples - which means we're not following each other, we're not gazing at each other - we're following the Lord upon whom we gaze, and especially we do that when we gather here in this church,” Archbishop Costelloe emphasised.

For his third point, Archbishop Costelloe looked to Pope Francis, who often refers to the Church as if it were a field hospital in the middle of a battle.

“And Pope Francis said, ‘When a soldier is wounded, and is brought into the field hospital, the doctors and the nurses don't begin by asking that soldier about his or her cholesterol levels or blood sugar level, or any of those sorts of things – they begin by healing the wounds.’

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Moora Parish Administrator Fr Renald Anthony lights a candle during the Dedication Mass of the Church of Our Lady Star of the Sea on Saturday 29 May. Photo: Max Hoh.

“The Holy Father went on to say that this is the great mission of the Church today, to heal people’s wounds. And then he added something more, he said not just to be a healer of people’s wounds, but a warmer of people’s hearts.”

Jurien Bay Building Committee Chair John Willett, who spoke the Welcome and Acknowledgement to Country, also emphasised that Australia is a land of many layers.

“And the deepest layer of our culture of that of our Aboriginal people, who have walked and cared for this land from the beginning,” Mr Willett said.

Mr Willett acknowledged the Yued people, including elders, past, present and emerging.

“From a Church perspective, the Church of Jurien Bay, which is the most northern of the Archdiocese of Perth, and from a Shire perspective, it’s the first new place of worship to be built on the turquoise coast.

“This achievement has been a long-held dream of many who are here today, several who are unable to be with us due to distance and health, and some who have passed to their eternal reward.

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The new Church of Our Lady Star of the Sea, Jurien Bay, on the turquoise coast is the northern most Church of the Archdiocese of Perth. Photo: Max Hoh.

“It is our hope that what our planning committee set out to achieve three years ago, commencing with Fr Chris Webb and under the Committee Chair of Wendy Harvey, is not only a fulfilment of that dream, but will become a place of worship for the whole community in Jurien bay and Cervantes and our region; not simply for us but for the future,” Mr Willett concluded.

Parish Administrator Fr Renald Anthony also took the opportunity at the conclusion of the Mass, to express his gratitude to all involved in the building of the new church and the parish community.

“For those who do not know the story behind how many years the people have been praying and waiting for, I was told that it was as early as Msgr Cameron’s time, which was at least 50 years ago, when he dreamt of having a church in this region, here in Jurien Bay Cervantes.

“This is not all possible today, without the prayers and blessings of all the people that worked for this over the last 50 years,” Fr Renald Anthony.