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Memories of St Joseph’s Cathedral from Around the Diocese

19 November, 2021

Since the late 1800s, the donations of countless kind-hearted individuals have enabled the construction, restoration, and conservation of St Joseph’s Cathedral across generations.

St Joseph’s Cathedral is a historic and iconic building, and it is the Cathedral church for our Diocese, the spiritual home for the people of the Diocese of Rockhampton. St Joseph’s Cathedral Conservation Appeal honours the importance of our Cathedral, the seat of the Bishop.

The Cathedral Appeal is a great statement of a community of people in our region who are committed to their unity amongst great diversity. Many of us have some connection to it. It has played host to significant events and has gathered people from all over our vast Diocese. Modern technology such as live-streaming enables more people to witness events held here.  All these events have given shape to the life of our Diocese, parishes and the faithful.

I’ve asked some people to share their stories and connection over the years, which no doubt mirrors many of the shared experiences of the faithful throughout our Diocese with our Cathedral.

Shirley Hopkins, Rockhampton:

I remember during WW2 when they took the stained-glass windows out of the Cathedral and buried them to ensure their preservation because Rockhampton was seen as in the danger zone.

I had three brothers serving in the war, Fredrick Cyril, Kevin William, and Ronald Talbot Hopkins. When my mother told me about the Cathedral’s windows being taken and buried for protection, I felt a deep connection between my brother and the safety of the windows. I had a sense that if the windows were kept safe, then my brothers would be safe.

I told my mother, Sarah Gladys Hopkins, we have to look after those windows because they are coming back, and so are my brothers. After the war, those windows came back, and so did all my brothers. I’ve never stopped contributing and inviting others to conserve our Cathedral ever since.

Lyn & Phil Williamson, Bundaberg:

Recently when I was in South Australia, I would tune in to Mass at our St Joseph’s Cathedral. It’s a building of historical importance, particularly to my family. My grandparents Captain Lester Holloway and Elizabeth McGrath, married there (1913); my Father, Lester William Holloway, was baptized there, as was I. The family lived on George Street across from the Cathedral. I enjoyed seeing our Priests and Bishop on the live stream while I was away.

Maria Ana Yu, Rockhampton:

I find the Cathedral is an integral part of my family’s continuing relationship with God. It was very daunting to relocate to a completely different country, let alone a completely different culture. However, since linking with the Cathedral community, we found another family where my husband, child, and I can grow as Catholics.

The most memorable milestone for us as a family is the recent confirmation of my child, Tallulah, and my husband, James and being fully accepted in the Catholic faith when they both received the Eucharist at the same time. It was a very special time as they celebrated both Sacraments together.

I feel that it is my obligation to make sure that the Cathedral would continue to be a place to worship God and a place for everyone to feel that they are a member of God’s community.

Pat Rasmussen & Rita Corby, Mt. Tambourine & Mackay:

Our parents were married there, our father, Arthur Rasmussen, was from Maryborough, and our mother, Catherine, was from Emerald, but they met in Mackay. Though at the time, our father wasn’t a Catholic, he later became one. Our parents saw the Cathedral as where it all began, their journey together, and the life of our family; our brother, Fr John Rasmussen, would become Parish Priest there. Many years later, when the stained-glass windows in the sanctuary were being organised and installed, my mother decided that the family would contribute to this because St Joseph’s Cathedral was where it all began.

May you be inspired by remembering the great example of our unity, to the world, as a diverse community of believers and the role of St Joseph’s Cathedral in that. Our world needs such an example of unity amongst its community in these times. Your help is preserving St Joseph’s Cathedral as a symbol of our unity, our faith, and a place of prayer and reflection for future generations.

If you are in a position to help at this time, I ask that you prayerfully consider making a donation to help ensure the conservation of our Cathedral for many generations to come.

Yours sincerely

Most Rev Michael McCarthy

Bishop of Rockhampton

P.S. If you have already made a donation, thank you sincerely. I truly appreciate your generous support.