I bring to readers' attention what seems likely to happen to St Thérse Catholic Church, Surfcoast Highway, Torquay.
This beautiful 50-year-old church is a landmark on the main highway and no doubt many readers have attended Mass there during past holidays.
I have visited this church frequently over the last 20 years, as a daily communicant and there are no daily Masses any longer in the local area. It would otherwise involve a 100km round trip daily to attend Mass at St Mary's, Geelong.
St Thérse Church is situated on a large property (three blocks) with spacious parking available and is open daily for parishioners and tourists alike to visit Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament.
After speaking to some of the parishioners recently, it is clear they wish to retain the church for their Sunday worship, since it is the most centrally located for all of the Surfcoast communities, especially for the residents of Torquay. It would be a tragedy to lose a Catholic landmark like this church.
The proposed location of a new church building is off the main highway and hidden away from sight. According to the parish newsletter for 21 August 2007, it seems that recommendations have been made to move and build a new church in a location near the Catholic school.
One wonders why any new church could not be built in the existing church grounds, being such a large area of perfectly positioned land. Who initiated this move to another location and what is considered wrong with this beautiful church, which will be destroyed with the move, and most likely cause considerable division in the parish?
One gets the impression at times that the views of parishioners are misread by committees, surveys, leadership teams, directors of pastoral projects, feasibility studies, etc. A materialist perspective tends to override a spiritual one.
This is a very serious situation for all involved in this move, as failure will not only destroy the Catholic heritage in the area, but, more seriously, affect the faith of many parishioners.
If any readers have suggestions for saving this church from the bulldozer, and retaining an important landmark in Torquay, I would like to hear from them.
1 Kerrie Ct
Airey's Inlet, Vic