Monday, March 30, 2009

Breakthrough at St Mary's

In a breakthrough in negotiations, outgoing St Mary's, South Brisbane administrator, Fr Peter Kennedy, will say his last Mass in the parish on Sunday April 19.

After eight hours of negotiation, St Mary's council co-convenor Marg Ortiz said a solution had been found to the impasse that had seen Fr Kennedy refuse to hand over the keys to the church and continue to lead masses in defiance of Archbishop John Bathersby's February 19 "decree of removal", The Courier-Mail reports.

Fr Kennedy, who was unavailable for comment late yesterday, had previously ruled out participating in the mediation.

The agreement recorded the church council and the Archbishop wanting to avoid legal action by the Archdiocese as owners of the St Mary's church property. At the mediation, led by former High Court judge Ian Callinan, the church community was represented by Mrs Ortiz, Tony Presland, John Fitz-Walter, Roger Dewar and Karyn Walsh and Michael Kelly representing Micah Projects.

Solicitor-General Walter Sofronoff, QC, led the Catholic Church's legal team. Also attending for the Archdiocese was St Stephen's Cathedral Dean Fr Ken Howell, whom Archbishop Bathersby has appointed to take over St Mary's administration.

Ms Ortiz said, in the interests of the community's needs, it had been agreed that Fr Kennedy would continue saying Mass at St Mary's until April 19.

Earlier, The Age reported that in a bid to break the stalemate with Fr Kennedy, the Catholic hierarchy in Brisbane is negotiating directly with representatives of his parish.

"There is a willingness on the part of some members of the parish council to participate in mediation," Brisbane chancellor, Fr Adrian Farrelly, had said.

"I see it as a positive step in the ongoing life of the parish and hopefully good things come from it."

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(Source: CTHN)

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