Last week, Mary Fenelon spoke of moving to Collingwood, after 23 years in the outer eastern suburbs, and attending Mass at St Joseph's where she found it very welcoming and community active. Mary was involved in the fundraising in the early 2000s for the restoration of the Church, and was devastated when it was fire damaged in 2007.
Presuming the church would be rebuilt, as it was fully insured, she was shattered to learn in 2009 that the archdiocese planned to pull the walls of the church down for teachers' car park, and school playground.
Within a very short time a meeting was called, and a group formed called "Save St Joe's". The archdiocese refused to meet or acknowledge this group, and many requests to meet with the Archbishop were rejected. City of Yarra, unions, other churches, Collingwood Historical Society and many others supported this group.
The archdiocese twice applied to the City of Yarra to have the walls demolished – unsuccessfully. Then about 22nd December last year advice was received that the archdiocese was taking this decision to VCAT and Council and Save St Joe's had until 3rd January to lodge objections.
However, following President Bruce Shaw's generous offer to assist at VCAT, the decision was recently made against the archdiocese. Presently the Parish Priest, Fr Peter Hoang, is in talks with the archdiocese endeavouring to convince them of the need for the restoration of this needed community Church.