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St Mary's in Exile
By David Burton
It would be beyond belief if it wasn’t true.
In 2009, Brisbane’s Catholic community was rocked when the Catholic Church stepped in to oust beloved priest Father Peter Kennedy from his post at St Mary’s in South Brisbane.
He led more than 700 devoted parishioners, but the Church’s higher powers doubted his faith. They scorned the statue of Buddha in the foyer and frowned when he blessed same-sex couples, or let women into the pulpit.
So, on a stormy night, after refusing to resign or to fall in line with orthodoxy, an excommunicated Father Peter is packing up to go into exile – when a mysterious young homeless visitor walks out of the rain, wanting to know the story behind this unconventional holy man and what drove him to defy one of the world’s most powerful authorities.
Gripping and inspirational drama,
St Mary’s in Exile
is the story of a tight-knit community, a poignant reminder that the word “church” refers not to the 123-year-old heritage listed Renaissance building, but the bond between the disparate people who gather there. A bond that endured when Peter handed over the keys amid a media frenzy, and led his flock down the street to the Trades and Labor Council building, where they still worship every weekend.