The dream of a parish of St
Thomas More slumbered through the 1950’s in an old farm house in South
Street. It was the inspiration of
the then Bishop of Toowoomba, Bishop Roper. He organised the
purchase of the house and five acres of farmland in 1951 and in that year
the house was blessed by him and dedicated to the English martyr, St Thomas
More, to whom Bishop Roper had ancestral connections.
Throughout the 50’s, a small but
growing community gathered there to attend Sunday mass.
Various priests from St Patrick’s Cathedral celebrated the masses, one of
them being the recently ordained young Father Leonard. Father
Bill Hall was the principal celebrant. It was, therefore, no surprise when in
September 1960, St Thomas More’s was officially declared a parish by
Bishop Brennan, that Father Hall was appointed parish priest.
He was provided with a residence at 176 Geddes Street. The foundation of the
parish had been firmly established in the 1950’s by Father Hall and his devoted
band of parishioners, some of whom still attend mass here today.
Pat Ryan has been forever active in St Vincent de Paul,
fundraising, RCIA and is our long serving parish
In January 1961, Bishop Brennan
and Father Hall welcomed the Sisters of St Joseph to the parish and under the
guidance of Sisters Finbar and Anna Maria classes were commenced in the farm
house, come church, come school. Conditions initially were
primitive with church pews being used as desks and the children, sitting or
kneeling on the kneelers.
However, all this changed
rapidly on 9 July, 1961, when a newly constructed
church and convent were blessed and opened by Bishop Brennan.
Again the church doubled as classrooms during the week and the farm house
became Father Hall’s presbytery.
In 1965, an army hut was purchased and sited
St. It was extended and renovated
and served as the church for the next twenty-six years.
In July 1971, a brand new
presbytery, adjacent to the church was blessed and opened – it was virtually
debt free thanks to the generosity of parishioners, the late Mrs Jessie Kane and
the late Mr Les Dillon.
In 1979, Father Hall left St
Thomas More’s to become parish priest at Allora. He left
behind a flourishing parish and school, a great tribute to a true
Father Frank Leonard became
parish priest and he continued the
prosperity of the parish overseeing building projects in the school
area. The 1988 school year commenced with the
enrolment of over 400 students. Sadly in 1995, the
sisters of St
Joseph ceased their teaching role in the
parish. They are however, still very well represented in the
life of St Thomas More’s by Sisters Leonie Stortenbeker (one of the foundation
sisters of STM) and Margaret Cusack.
Father Frank guided the parish towards
the construction of our new church which was blessed and opened in November,
In 1999, Father Frank retired to Lourdes Home,
his forward thinking ministry leaving a strong imprint on the history of St
Thomas More’s. His going marked the end of the era of a permanent priest for the
parish and a new way of parish life unfolded as St Thomas More’s emerged as a
leader in Toowoomba city with a new model of pastoral
In response to the changing needs in the Church, the
parishioners have been willing to face some of the hard questions concerning a
new model of parish leadership. This model involved a priest
director, a pastoral leader, a lay pastoral associate and pastoral council
working together with community to spread the mission of Jesus.
During the transitional stage of
2002-2001, Father Jim Cronin was appointed Administrator of St Thomas
More’s until he became Administrator of the Cathedral. He took on the role of
Priest Director for the parish when in 2003, Sr Patricia Grundy, a
Presentation Sister, was appointed as Pastoral Leader.
This new form of Leadership encourages
the people who form the faith community to be more aware of their baptismal
commitment and its call to be disciples of Jesus in building God’s reign in our
The people of St Thomas More’s are committed to
nurturing a vibrant faith community through many and varied
We are grateful that we can say that the spiritual
and social needs of the people of our church, as well as an awareness of the
needs of the wider community, are being addressed by our people.
More – a man for all seasons – has set us an example as we adapt to the
changing seasons of our life in contemporary society.
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