By guest writer Catherine Toomey.
Circa 200 people of all ages and races formed a human chain down the wall of Brisbane’s Villa Maria heritage property on Wednesday evening.
“We are here to prayerfully rally against plans to put a café in one part of our Villa Maria chapel,” said event spokesperson, Peter Bond.
In addressing the large gathering, Bond said he “felt very blessed to see so many our Lord has called to protect His holy church.”
Along with their rosary beads and lanterns, the gathering held corflutes with the hashtag the campaign has managed to have trending over the last day – #NoChurchCafe.
Bond said that this measure was being taken at the eleventh hour, although ‘Construction’ signs are already in place at the site, because the community had not yet been heard.
“We have signed petitions, written to the authorities and tonight we are here in prayer and reparation for what is going on,” he clarified. “It is outrageous to imagine this sacred space being desecrated in such a way as is being proposed.”
A handwritten petition has already attracted almost 1000 signatures in a matter of days.
The land is owned by the Archdiocese of Brisbane but leased by Catholic Healthcare Australia (CHC.)
Both parties have experienced significant social media outcry in the last 24 hours as people across the Brisbane community have become aware of the situation.
“Although CHC are claiming to have had communication with all ‘relevant parties,’ we are frankly disappointed with the lack of dialogue and have not been listened to,” said Bond after CHC released statements to The Catholic Leader and on their Facebook and Twitter pages Wednesday.
“That changes tonight,” he added. “For wherever two or three are gathered in my name, say the Lord, I am in the midst. May hearts be moved tonight as we pray together (Matt 18:20.)”
Photos by Liam Nally.
Sign the online petition here.