Augustinians depart Sandhurst after 128 years

After 128 years, the priests of the Order of Saint Augustine farewelled the Victorian country diocese at the weekend.

The Diocesan website says that Bishop Martin Crane OSA was appointed the first Bishop of Sandhurst in 1874, and with him many Augustinian Fathers from Ireland travelled to Australia and settled in parishes and and established schools.

They staffed three parishes in Sandhurst: Echuca, Kyabram and Rochester. Over recent years, diminishing numbers and aging clergy demanded that the order had to withdraw all the parishes except Kyabram. Now they have left Kyabram.

The Australian Provincial Fr Pat Fahey announced the decision last year and has attended several farewell celebrations over the weekend. Kyabram parish hosted a dinner for parishioners, Augustinian fathers and local clergy and civic guests on Friday 27 January. Farewell Mass and parish picnic was held last Sunday and a Diocesan function on Monday in Bendigo.

The Augustian website reports that the departure of the two Augustinians in Kyabram after that event has been further saddened by the announcement by Bishop Joe Grech is unable to supply a resident priest for the parish in place of the Augustinians. Henceforth the Kyabram parish will be ministered to by the priest who is pastor of the neighbouring parish of Tatura, Fr Michael Morley.

The present parish priest of Kyabram, Fr David Austin O.S.A., will move to St Augustine's Priory, Brookvale, NSW, and Fr. Joseph Walsh O.S.A., the associate pastor, will move to Villanova Priory, Coorparoo, ( Brisbane), Queensland.

Augustinian Fathers Depart Sandhurst (Diocese of Sandhurst 30/1/06)
Kyabram farewell (Augustinian Bulletin Board - Dec 2005)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Diocese of Sandhurst

31 Jan 2006