St Joseph’s Church at Blampied will hold its final mass on Sunday, March 11 after 144 years of services.
In 1862, Father Slattery was appointed parish priest. He was instrumental in the task of building three churches for the needs of the mining district; the Parish Church, St Peter’s Daylesford, built of local sandstone, and St Joseph’s Blampied, built of local bluestone.
The church at Blampied opened in 1872.
The church has around 30 regular parishioners. That number would inflate to around 60 people for Christmas masses.
When they were told their church would close five years ago, parishioners tried hard to find another priest to lead their congregation. They said it was an impossible effort as there are simply not enough young priests to replace the older priests who are moving on.
Parishioners agree the most upsetting factor is its members will be dispersed on Sundays as they go their separate ways to attend mass in other townships. In future, the church will only be opened for weddings and funerals.
Parishioner at the church, Colleen Stephens, says it has long been the heart of the community.
“Its closing is sad, but we must make our final service a celebration of the 144 years the church has been operating,” she said.
Her husband Frank, a life time member of the Blampied community and member of the parish, says he has still not come to grips with the church’s closing.
Ms Stephens said despite the disappointment of the church closing, she will continue with her faith.
“Our doors might be closing, but our faith will, of course, continue,” she said.
Josie and Noel Gregory moved to Blampied from Canberra. The couple said they chose the community because of its tight knit nature and for its warmth and friendliness.
Mr Gregory said reasons for the church’s closing were probably down to the church’s population decreasing.
The final mass at the Blampied church will be held at 11am, followed by a barbecue in the church grounds.