St Mary's Cathedral Celebrates Australia Day - All Welcome

Catholic Communications, Sydney Archdiocese,
22 Jan 2016

Volunteer Kevin Gothard guides a Crypt tour last year

Thousands of people are expected to visit St Mary's Cathedral this Tuesday to take advantage of its much-loved Australia Day celebrations.

Once again, St Mary's Cathedral will provide a full program of activities for visitors, including organ, light opera and harp recitals, as well as guided history and crypt tours.

The organ recitals at 1.30pm and 3.45pm will showcase the talents of Michael Butterfield, the Cathedral's assistant organist.  Michael will treat attendees to colourful pieces on the Cathedral's magnificent pipe organs.

British-born harpist, Karen Hickmott will return to the Cathedral to perform a harp recital, commencing at 2.00pm.
The opera recital, commencing at 2.30pm, will feature the voices of two rising stars from the Sydney Conservatorium of Music, Josie-Ann Ellem and Paul Sutton.  The duo will take advantage of the Cathedral's resonant acoustics to provide glorious solo repertoires as well as some duet pieces.

The tours on offer provide visitors with insights into the history of not only the Cathedral, but the city of Sydney itself, because the story of one cannot be told without the story of the other.

The guided history tours will allow visitors to more fully appreciate the beautiful artworks which adorn the exterior and interior of the Cathedral, some of which date back almost 150 years.  There are more recent additions as well, including the beautiful marble triptych - the sculpted altar depicting a sleeping Christ, which was consecrated by Pope Benedict XVI when he visited Sydney for World Youth Day 2008.

The guided tours of the Cathedral and Crypt
are free

There are also the later additions of the statues of Mary Magdalene and Jesus which are positioned on the Sanctuary, the 16 hand-painted resin statues of the twelve Apostles, St Paul, John the Baptist and the two Biblical prophets Elijah and Moses which were part of the original vision for the Cathedral by its designer, William Wardell.

Another highlight will be the recently-added statues of eight female saints which are part of the Lady Chapel, and were blessed by Archbishop Anthony Fisher OP in May 2015.  The statues include Australia's first saint, Saint Mary of the Cross MacKillop, soon-to-be Saint Teresa of Calcutta, Doctors of the Church Saints Catherine of Siena, Hildegarde of Bingen, Teresa of Avila and Therese of Lisieux, as well as Saint Monica, Saint Maria Goretti and Saint Teresa Benedicta of the Cross.

Another new addition is the 19th century French Gothic sanctuary lamp which was installed in March of last year.
Those undertaking the guided tours of the Crypt will be treated to the history of its famous terrazzo mosaic floor and the tombs of past Archbishops of Sydney, including Australia's first Catholic Archbishop, John Bede Polding.  The Crypt also contains some of the Australian Catholic Church's earliest chalices and vestments including those used and worn by Archbishop Polding.

Tours will take approximately 30 minutes and commence at 10.30am, 11.00am, 11.30am, 1,00pm, 3.15pm, 4.15pm and 4.45pm.

New Cathedral Dean Father Don Richardson will celebrate a special Mass at midday, asking for God's blessing on Australia and its people. 

Record crowds visited the Cathedral last Australia Day, with around 4000 people participating in the events on offer.  The free harp and opera recitals were relocated from the Cathedral Crypt to the main Cathedral to accommodate the great number of people who wished to attend.

All events on the day are free, and all are welcome to attend.  For more information, you can phone 9220 0400.