By Anthony Barich
St Mary’s Cathedral is uniting the West Australian community, and it hasn’t even been completed yet.
St Mary’s Conservation and Completion Appeal manager Brett Mendez told The Record that the Archdioce’s Appeal office has received financial and written support from other faiths including the Jewish community, Greek Orthodox, the Anglican Church and the Uniting Church.
Meanwhile on a parish and school level, Catholics have organised walkathons, dinner parties, quiz nights and other community-building events to fundraise for St Mary’s Cathedral.
As a result, the Appeal is financially “on track”, he said, with $22 million of the required $25 million already raised.
“St Mary’s Cathedral means a lot to many people, and that is reflected in the support we have received from right across the spectrum of Perth’s community,” Mr Mendez said.
However, he urged Perth’s Catholic community not to let up on its support, as “the last three million is the hardest to do”.
People walking up Murray Street in the CBD will see an impressive whitewashed front façade and a polished western tower of the 1865 portion, which has been completely refurbished, with a new slate, with a cross at the apex. The old Carillion bells will remain in the tower.
The north and south transept walls have been totally removed from the triforium down to make way for the new nave, with the top part of the walls braced with steel.
Dean of St Mary’s Cathedral, Mgr Michael McDonald, said it was a “highly successful operation”, with no cracks or shifting during the process.
Excavation has also begun for new parish centre under the cathedral, and is so far half completed.
The whole cathedral process four months behind schedule, though the last estimate, given to The Record last December, was that it would be completed by Easter next year.