North Beach parishioners recently pitched in their talents to remember Australians who have served and died in war and operational service at their annual Anzac Day Mass on 25 April.
Attended by some 80 people at Our Lady of Grace Church, the 9am Mass was made all the more touching by the addition of several adornments hand-made by parishioners.
One such committed parishioner, Carla Christou, stayed up till 2am the previous night preparing individual sprigs of rosemary tied to miniature Australian flags, which were handed to every person who attended.
The altar banner was hand-made by Kath Lewis, who lends it to the parish every year, while the lectern banner was made by Doreen Fisher especially for the occasion.
North Beach Liturgy Co-ordinator, Joan Burke, said the Mass was a tradition to honour the fallen – a tradition which continued to evolve.
“We have been holding it for about ten years now, and it is always followed by a simple morning tea outside the Church, where we serve Aussie classics: Anzac biscuits and lamingtons,” she said.
“Everyone who attends says it’s a very moving experience.”
The Mass began with the entrance procession of the clergy – Father Richard Smith, Fr Patrick Toohey and Deacon Paul Stacey – together with 10 veterans or their representatives.
The veterans wore their medals and carried a red carnation, while Jack Meyer, a veteran and long-time parishioner, carried the Australian flag.
The Mass was particularly poignant for Mr Meyer, who served in the 13th Squadron of the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) during the Second World War, due to the loss of his older brother, Francis.
Francis Meyer volunteered for service at the age of 18, and was awarded the rank of Flying Officer with the RAAF at the age of 20.
He was captured by the Japanese on the Island of Ambon, Indonesia and was executed along with 300 other prisoners of war in February 1942. His body, like many others’, was never identified.
Also in the procession was Parish Acolyte Paul Lusk, who served in the 7th Battalion of the Royal Australian Regiment in Vietnam.
At the age of 20, Mr Lusk was called up in the second intake of national servicemen and served for 12 months from 1970 to 1971.
During the entrance procession, everyone paused so that Mr Meyer could place the flag in the holder and the veterans could put their carnations on the memorial table.
Each person also lit a candle for the fallen at the memorial table during the Entrance Hymn. The rest of the congregation had the opportunity to light a candle after the Mass.
Next to the memorial table was the book of remembrance, containing the details of parishioners’ friends and relatives who served in war, and who have died during or since their service.
The book was put together five years ago by a parishioner with a talent for calligraphy.
Mr Meyer read out The Ode of Remembrance during the Mass and, before the final blessing, The Last Post was played, followed by a minute’s silence and The Rouse.
Once Mass finished, the parishioners and clergy headed outside for a lighter affair of morning tea.