The Parish of
St John the Baptist
11 Leichardt Street, Beaufort
PO Box 33
Beaufort VIC 3373
11 Leichardt Street
Beaufort VIC 3373
(03) 5331 1012
Our Parish Safeguarding Officer is Sandra Watkins
|1st, 3rd and 5th Sundays
Sunday Lay Led Assembly (with Communion) 10.00am.
|2nd and 4th Sunday (if applicable) of the month
Morning Mass at 8.30am
These timings may change from time to time. You will be kept informed.
Latest Parish Bulletin - 17 Oct 2021Read More View Archives
ST JOHN THE BAPTIST PARISH BEAUFORT
Beaufort Parish has an average Mass/Lay Led assembly of about thirty parishioners each Sunday.
EARLY HISTORY OF OUR CHURCH
The first visit of a Catholic Priest to this area was in 1855 when Fr Patrick Bermingham came up from Colac to visit the gold diggings. The following year, 1856, the district was made part of the Parish of Ballarat. In 1858, the new parish of Mount Ararat and Pleasant Creek was established with Fr Thomas Barrett as the first Parish Priest. Beaufort was part of this new parish, and Fr Barrett visited regularly.
In 1861, a Catholic school was built, and the building served as a chapel until 1884. The school closed at the end of 1964.
Rev Fr Robert Meade from Limerick, Ireland was ordained in 1868.
Before the days of motor transport, he would travel by buggy, drawn by a fine pair of horses, to Buangor Saturday afternoon, stay overnight at a parishioner’s home and celebrate Mass in Buangor on the Sunday morning. He would then go to Beaufort to the late Mass. This was a fortnightly ritual, alternating later and early in the two communities.
The Diocese of Ballarat was created in March 1874 and Bishop Michael O’Connor made his first visit to Beaufort in 1875 when he confirmed eighteen children. The Bishop expressed hope that a new and more suitable church would soon be built on the land reserved. Permission to build did not come through for several years. It was Fr Meade who undertook the task of building the new Church of St John the Baptist. The building was opened by Bishop James Moore on Sunday 12th October 1884.
Around 1895, Fr Burke of Buangor and Fr Hegarty conducted an 8 day mission at Beaufort. The report of the Ripponshire Advocate gives us an interesting insight into the preaching style common at that time. It reported that … “Fr Hegarty spoke earnestly as to the duty of Catholics to uphold their faith, attend Masses, say their prayers and make confession as often as possible… He also urged them to pay their just debts and to forgive all who had in any way offended them….
He strongly deprecated the common practice of walks in lonely lanes at all hours of the night… Great God said the preacher, What is the world coming to?… At the end of the mission, Fr Hegarty asked all to go down on their knees while he invoked a blessing upon them remarking to the Protestants present that if it did them no good, it could at least do them no harm.”
Mass on Sunday was always the central focus of Beaufort’s Catholic Community. In early days, people regularly walked many miles to attend Sunday Mass. As well as travelling on foot, there was also whatever horse drawn conveyance that was available.
The Church was enlarged in 1922. Further alterations were made in 1969.
In July 1971, Beaufort and Buangor, left Ararat Parish, and became the newly created Parish of Beaufort. Fr John McKinnon, previously assistant priest at Ararat, became Parish Priest. A residence was built on the western side of the Church to serve as a Parish Centre as well as a residence for the Priest.
Following John McKinnon were Frs Brendan Smith, Pat O’Brien, Gerry Baldock, John Monaghan, Gary Jones, Brian Welch, Peter Sherman, Peter Claridge and Mons Nolan.
Having only one Priest, placed greater responsibility on the Laity to assist with running the Parish. Fortunately, this need arose around the same time as the Church revised many of its structures and methods. The Laity was given a far greater role in many activities.
Beaufort was fortunate to have had a parish priest for more than 30 years. Beaufort, Streatham and Buangor were the three Mass centres. There was a Parish Pastoral Council, Finance Group, Ladies Guild, Liturgy Group and weekly RE classes for children. In 1986, Lexton joined Beaufort Parish which created four Mass Centres.
From 1979 to 2007, the Beaufort House of Prayer, while not the property of the Parish, was nevertheless very much a part of the Parish life. Eileen McManus as the administrator at the House of Prayer on behalf of Ballarat Catholic Renewal, was invaluable support to the Parish both liturgically and ministering to the sick and dying at the Hospital, Hostel and in homes.
In 2004, Beaufort was linked to Redan with Fr Gerry Baldock as the Parish Administrator. Without a resident Priest, regular gatherings on some Sundays were Lay Led. Fr Baldock retired in January 2009. Since then, the Parish has been administered by Fr Justin Driscoll, from Ballarat Cathedral Parish.
The Parish has been admirably supported by the Lay Ministry of Sister Shelia Belleville RSM (7 years) and Sister Helen Murphy IBVM (4 years).
In the small faith community of Beaufort, life is centred around the gathering on a Sunday. Parishioners participate as Readers, Special Ministers, (distributing the Eucharist at Mass and Lay Assemblies, and to residents of the Nursing Home, the Hostel and private homes), Lay Led Liturgy Leaders, preparation of Church grounds and the Church itself, Liturgy Group (preparation for Sundays and special celebrations centred around Lent, Easter, Advent and Christmas), Children’s Liturgy, cleaning and maintenance roster, newsletter and website communications with the Ballarat Diocese.
In 2018 we welcomed Fr Sajan Matthew as resident of the Parish Centre.
Parish Council meets monthly. Sacramental preparation is as required for Baptism, First Eucharist, Confirmation and Funeral Ministry (to assist with preparation and support in bereavement), in conjunction with Fr Justin Driscoll.
We are a small, active faith community with a long history, who today continue to welcome all to share in the celebration of Mass and the sacraments in our Church.
(Cathedral, Sebastopol, Redan, Beaufort)
Fr Marcello Colasante
(Resident at Ballarat North)
(Fr Marcello is also Parish Priest of Ballarat North Parish and Wendouree Parish)
|After Hours Emergency Only
0400 460 466