Mansfield parish priest Fr George Feliciouz was getting ready to celebrate Mass yesterday morning when a 5.9 magnitude earthquake struck near the regional town, causing tremors across the state. Source: Melbourne Catholic.
Fr Feliciouz and a parishioner promptly went outside to see what was happening. “We looked at the church and the hall and we could see the roof was rattling,” he said. Thankfully there were no injuries but Fr Feliciouz said that “íf it had lasted any longer we could have had serious damage.”
Over at St Mary’s Parish in Dandenong, Fr Brendan Lane had just started his daily livestream of Mass when the earthquake hit. “Wow, how’s that? We’ve just had an earth tremor here,’ he said to viewers.
If he was worried it didn’t show, as he promptly added: “In the old days God used to speak through theophany, thunder, lightning and tremors and all this. So he must be speaking with us today. I don’t think I’ve said anything wrong yet,” he said with a chuckle.
Deacon George Piech Meat was with Fr Lane during the Mass.
“I thought maybe a truck was passing by because our church is very close to the main road. Then I realised it was an earthquake,” Deacon Piech Meat said. “The cameraman was about to run out. In the end, he did well!”
At St Mary’s, Ascot Vale, the quake, the largest ever recorded in the state, caused two life-size solid marble statues to crash to the ground from a height of almost seven metres.
Fr Justin Ford said the statues were more than 80 years old and were imported from Italy in the 1930s when the church building was officially opened.
“They’re a special thing to the people,” Fr Ford said. “They’re not repairable but we’ll get them replaced.”
Earthquake damages 80-year-old marble statues (Melbourne Catholic)
Australia: Earthquake strikes near Melbourne (Vatican News)
Victoria rocked by a 5.8 magnitude earthquake (The Catholic Leader)