A Hospital for Sinners – A Training Ground for Saints


In 1993 extensive refurbishments of St. Patrick’s Church were carried out, updating it liturgically. In the same year it was announced that a parish history would be compiled. It was hoped that the work would be released on the occasion of the parish’s jubilee of 1994 (dated from 1914 when a parish priest was once again appointed to St. Patrick’s Parish after a period of time without a parish priest). Portrait of a Parish. A History of Saint Patrick’s Church and Parish Ingham 1864-1996, by Bianka Vidonja Balanzategui, was finally launched in May 1 1999 at the 50th anniversary of Gilroy Santa Maria College. In 1996 work was carried out on the old grotto in the Presbytery grounds in honour of Our Lady on the feast of her Assumption.

It was announced in September 1990 that on the retirement of Sister Nedda as principal at the Canossa Convent Primary School she could not be replaced by a Canossian Sister and that a lay principal would be appointed. Further extensions were carried out Abergowrie College, with a building being dedicated to Father Ferlazzo and named The Father Ferlazzo Block as a tribute to his hard work and commitment to the school.

In 1995 Bishop Michael Putney was appointed Bishop of Townsville Diocese. With the shortage of priests and on the death of Father Jones, Father Ferlazzo became responsible for all local three Parishes with one assistant. With Father Ferlazzo becoming ill, Father Peter Quilty was appointed as Administrator to the Ingham Parish in March 2007. A new grotto erected dedicated to our Lady, adjacent to Our Lady of Lourdes School. was blessed on the occasion of Father Ferlazzo’s 80th birthday. Father Ferlazzo retired at this time.

Father Michael Taylor then became thirteenth parish priest of St. Patrick’s Parish. He was appointed on September 13, 2007 after six months with Father Peter Quilty as Parish Administrator. Father Ferlazzo was admitted to Canossa Nursing Home where he died on March 26 2008. After his death when major work was conducted at Gilroy Santa Maria College, including the restoration of the historic original building that was once the church for the Parish of Pius x, the school entrance was redesigned and a decorative garden was dedicated to his memory.

The Mercy Sisters withdrew from Lourdes Primary School in 2007 with Sister Nina Barra, the last Principal. The school underwent major refurbishments in 2010 with the most significant being the construction of the Menegon Centre, available for use by not only the school but the wider community.

On December 13, 2009 the Canossian Sisters were farewelled with a Mass at St. Patrick’s Church leaving the Nursing Home to lay administration. Also in 2009 a statue of St. Patrick and a Bell Tower were erected outside the St. Patrick’s Church. The statue was in memory of Father Ferlazzo and its installation was instigated by Father Michael. On April 10, 2010 Father Michael Taylor was farewelled in St. Patrick’s Church. On that occasion he announced that Pauline Pennisi, Parish Secretary had been awarded the Cross of Honour: Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice (for the Church and the Pontiff)by the Pope.

Father Damian McGrath was then appointed the fourteenth Parish Priest of St. Patrick’s Parish. He had arrived in Ingham to be Assistant Priest late in 2008.

Following his appointment changes were undertaken in the interior of St. Patrick’s Church.The use of the baptistery with its full-immersion facility was abandoned and a new traditional baptismal font crafted by Denis Garutti.  A new presider’s chair, stools for altar servers and another chair for co-celebrants were installed in February 2011 and a month later the 50th Jubilee of the 1961 St. Patrick’s Church was celebrated with Mass and supper under Lourdes School.