SAD GOODBYE: The end of an era for Woolooga community
THE closure of St Francis Xavier Church in Woolooga was no real shock to locals, with the final Mass taking place last month.
Low attendance numbers had left the Archdiocese with little choice but to close the doors on the beloved building, with the remaining small number of parishioners now forced to travel to Kilkivan for Mass.
"No decision has been taken on the future use of St Francis Xavier Church,” a Brisbane Archdiocese spokesman said.
"The Gympie parish has seen many changes in the 150 years since Mass was first celebrated in the area. We value the contribution of Gympie's parish community to life in the Archdiocese over many decades. It remains an important part of our Archdiocese. Across the Archdiocese, we have recently opened a new church and, during 2017, we consecrated three new churches.”
Reactions from locals was mixed yesterday.
Church neighbour Susan Doyle said she was sad there would no longer be services there.
"It's a shame they're shutting it because a lot of people will be moving into the area and there will probably be a lot more people wanting to go in the future,” she said.
Woolooga Hotel publican Brendan Clark-Coolee said a large part of the community would be affected.
"I believe that the elderly in the community will feel poorly about it because they have to travel to other places and some of them don't have the means of transport... And Woolooga is filled with pensioners. Out of the 64 people that are here at the moment I'd say that 58 of them would be pensioners,” he said. He also wondered about the reason for the closure.
"I'm sure that they probably looked at alternatives but whether their decision was made in the interests of the community or the interests of profitability to themselves... (shrugs).”
Relatively new resident to the area, Linda Blake, wasn't surprised by the closure and thought the church was underutilised.
"I've been here for two and a half years and I don't think I've ever seen a service there. I've only ever known it to be used once a year for National Religion Day or National Church Day or whatever it is,” she said.