Bishop Robert McGuckin and parish priest Fr Franco Filipetto at St Mary's Church the Sunday after a fire in the church was put out.
Bishop Robert McGuckin and parish priest Fr Franco Filipetto at St Mary's Church the Sunday after a fire in the church was put out. Gerard Walsh

Bishop heads to Warwick first Sunday after fire

BISHOP Robert McGuckin headed to Warwick for Sunday Mass yesterday to "be with the people” in the wake of last week's fire in St Mary's Catholic Church.

Bishop McGuckin said he regularly visited parishes when not committed to Confirmation ceremonies but acknowledged he was keen to head to St Mary's after the fire.

"I was keen to be with the people,” he said.

"St Patrick's Cathedral in Toowoomba and St Mary's in Warwick are the two stone churches in the diocese and it would have been a tragedy to lose a church like St Mary's.”

Bishop McGuckin and parish priest Fr Franco Filipetto were at annual retreat when the bishop received a message from his youth co-ordinator who read about the fire on social media.

"There are many wonderful people in society, including the fire fighters who put the church fire out,” he said.

Fr Filipetto said he was relieved to receive a call from Ian Niebling from the Queensland Fire and Rescue Service on Monday afternoon telling him that the fire had been controlled.

"A lot of history would have been lost if the church had been burnt. Monsignor Michael Potter put in a huge fund-raising effort to build the church,” he said.

Sunday Masses was held in the church at the weekend with a small area cordoned off near where the church is damaged in the north-east corner. Parishioners headed to St Mary's Hall after Sunday Mass for morning tea and the chance to chat to the bishop.



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