An Ipswich musician who has played the organ for her southeast Queensland parish for 55 years was recognised earlier this week with an Australia Day honour.
Parishioners at the Immaculate Heart of Mary Catholic Parish in Leichhardt (part of the Ipswich Catholic community) are celebrating the recognition of their long-time organist Mary Brosnan, who was awarded an Order of Australia Medal for service to the community.
The 78-year-old mother of seven and grandmother of 15 said her deep love of music was instilled by her mother.
“She could play anything on the piano and encouraged me to attend lessons and practice daily. I still have some of my mother’s original music, which I thoroughly enjoy playing on the piano at home,” Mrs Brosnan said this week.
Mrs Brosnan decided to take up her vocation when her parish priest at the time, Fr Gerald Ronayne, indicated there wasn’t a person regularly playing the organ.
“I asked him if it would be all right if I could start playing. This was in the old church; there was a lovely little organ there to play,” Mrs Brosnan recalled.
“What I enjoy about playing at Mass is how music brings everyone together and joins them as one voice.
“I have been honoured to also play for so many other special sacramental occasions in the church – weddings, funerals, etc. Playing at these celebrations has brought me closer to so many families within the congregation over the years.”
Mrs Brosnan likes all of the music she plays at Mass, but one of her favourite hymns is I am the bread of life.
“I moved to Ipswich from Auchenflower, Brisbane, in 1962 and married my husband, Jim Brosnan (a Member of the Knights of the Southern Cross who passed away in 2013) in 1963 in the original church at Immaculate Heart of Mary,” she said.
“We operated a dairy farm and piggery together in Purga for over 43 years. During that time, we raised seven children and since have been blessed with 15 grandchildren,” she said.
“Over the years, there have been many occasions where the community at Immaculate Heart, Leichhardt, have come together to support either an individual or a family in need.
“It has been these moments of community and sharing in each other’s lives that have enriched my faith.”
In addition to playing the organ, Mrs Brosnan has been part of the parish liturgy committee, care and concern committee, prayer group, Rosary group and the Catholic Women’s League.