Bishop O’Collins He Knew
Title: My childhood church is being given away for free. What bittersweet memories it holds.
Author: Barb Kelly
Publisher: ABC News
Barb Kelly, third from right, at her confirmation in 1961 which was presided over by Bishop James O’Collins who concealed the crimes of serial child sexual abusers in the Catholic Church.
If you are Catholic, you will know this song, and chances are you can sing it loudly, moving the notes up and down in a rollicking, rolling way.
Faith of our fathers, living still
In spite of dungeon, fire and sword,
O how our hearts beat high with joy
Whene’er we hear that glorious word!”
It’s a war cry, an anthem. It is the song we sang at the end of Missions — a special week of devotion led by Redemptorist Fathers. It is a proud song, and one young Catholics would sing at drinking parties away from home.
I am sitting in the church of my childhood, in our pew on the right, five seats from the front.
I can hear that big booming voice of the Redemptorist, and I can just see through the shoulders, the words of the hymn all lopsided up on the wall. Margie is thumping the organ with her little body, her curly hair just out of rollers.
But really, all is silent today and the church at Tempy that my family helped build and support is empty, and dirty.
The crucifix hangs above the altar all dusty, and forlorn. The church building is free now to anyone who wants to pay for the transportation. The steel girders, wooden floor and exterior tin are ready to be dismantled.
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