Wonderful memories of their family's experiences and history with the St Mary's Cathedral community has inspired one family to support the conservation of the Cathedral.
Maurice Kennedy and his sister, Pat, have vivid memories of St Mary's Cathedral from their childhood in the 1950s.
Their family has had a connection with St Mary's since the arrival of Fr Therry in 1820. Their father's family (Kennedy) had their first recorded baptisms by Fr. J. J. Therry on 2 December 1826, while their mother's family (Elliott) had their first baptism on 24 December 1832. Maurice and Pat and their father were educated at the Cathedral schools and they recall receiving many sacraments at the Cathedral.
They used to travel to school on the Bondi tram, get off at St James and walk in a straight line across Hyde Park, past the fountain, in the side door to make a visit, out the other side door and down to school. (The walkway under College Street was under construction at the time.)
"This was the happiest time of our lives," says Pat. ". As Cardinal Gilroy was the parish priest, he often came down into the school yard and classrooms and talked to the children.
"I remember when King George VI died and we had a special mass in the Cathedral for the ascension to the throne of Queen Elizabeth. In 1953 a Eucharistic Congress was held and it was the first time that three cardinals were together in Australia - Cardinal Gilroy (the first Australian born), Cardinal Gracias (the first Indian Cardinal) and Cardinal Agagianian (Armenian Cardinal of the Eastern Rite)."
The Cathedral community has been very important to the spiritual and physical welfare of the family over many years. "We all made visits to the Cathedral before and after school, had Benediction every Friday, had choir practice with Mr Dawkins playing the organ, regular Confession and many instances which made it very much 'our' church.
"Chapter Hall was a vibrant place. The CYO Chaplain obtained a pool table for us and he organised meetings, concerts, dances, and taught us to fence and play pool.
We consider our time spent in the care of the Cathedral clergy, nuns and brothers as precious, and we treasure our shared experience of the privilege of belonging to the St Mary's community."