Page:The Irish in Australia.djvu/251

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been validated.
237
THE CHURCH IN THE COLONIES.

not to interfere with the religious instruction of the Catholic children in the orphan schools, all the inmates of which are to be instructed in the faith and doctrines of the Church of England." Father Therry never lost an opportunity of protesting with all his might against this tyrannical and infamous decree. In punishment of his pertinacity, he was once suspended from his clerical office by the government for a considerable period, and it was only after an appeal to the Imperial authorities that he was reinstated. It is needless to say that the indomitable priest triumphed eventually, and vindicated the right of the Catholic Church to the spiritual control and training of her own children.

Soon after their arrival, the two priests resolved to separate in order that they might achieve a maximum of good. Father Conolly taking charge of the growing settlement in Van Diemen's Land in the far south, whilst Father Therry remained in the parent settlement at Sydney. He lost no time in setting about the erection of a suitable church, for, up to that time, the Catholic population of Sydney, though numbering 10,000, had no ecclesiastical edifice they could call their own. So much success attended his exertions that, in the year after his arrival in the colony, the foundation-stone of the old St. Mary's Cathedral—the precursor of the present noble structure—was laid amidst great congratulations and rejoicings. For five long years did Father Therry labour devotedly, without the assistance of a brother priest, amongst the Catholics of the settled districts of New South Wales. Many are the anecdotes related of his uncompromising zeal, energy, and determination in the discharge of his sacred duties. Mr. Bonwick records that on one occasion the good priest received a message that a convict, who had been sentenced to death,