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Celebrating 100 years of All Saints Church

More than 600 people were on hand to greet the Bishop of Lismore, Greg Homeming, Parish Priest, James Foster and special guest, author Tom Keneally as they honoured the early priests who travelled throughout the Macleay by arriving on a horse and sulky. Bishop Greg led the priests who celebrated the Anniversary Mass on 17 July. Celebrating with Bishop Greg were Bishop Geoffrey Jarrett (Bishop Emeritus of Lismore), Fr Paul Gooley (former Parish Priest of Kempsey) and the current Parish Priest, Fr James Foster.

The idea of a horse and sulky came from some parish pastoral council members and the organising committee loved the idea. 100 years ago, people got around on horseback or horse and sulky. The parish is blessed to have the incredible Sharon and Bill Clarke residing in Kempsey who have won national titles in carriage driving. They have a real passion for their beautiful horses and the carriages and sulkies they have lovingly restored. It was a special way to start off a magnificent day of celebrations.

The large crowd present highlighted the love that people have for All Saints Church is truly inspirational! It is a place of belonging precious to our community, a home and an oasis where memories are made, joy is shared and tears are shed, and above all where love is felt and lived. A number of people returned to Kempsey for the occasion including legendary Australian author Tom Keneally, as well as relatives of some of the church’s earliest priests, religious and lay people. Mayor Leo Hauville and Author Tom Keneally addressed the more than 600 parishioners and guests at the conclusion of Mass.

During the gourmet morning tea, Sr Cabrini cut the cake and was presented with a papal blessing in recognition of her exemplary service to Macleay Valley Parish.

After drought, fires, floods, covid and so many challenges in recent years- it was lovely for everyone to gather together and enjoy themselves. The Organising Committee wanted to do something special and memorable for all to enjoy.

Article by Fr James Foster