We continue our journey of faith visiting another of the many pastoral areas that form the two dioceses of Palmerston North and Wellington. This month we profile The Catholic Parish of Hastings – Te Parihi Katorika ki Heretaunga.
Good Things Are Happening In Our Parish
Fr Vince Onesi, Parish Priest
As with many parish communities today, the deep change our church is going through has brought about an amalgamation among our Hastings four faith communities. A reunification Mass was held at St John’s College on 28 June 2015, with Bishop Charles Drennan our Shepherd leading us into the future as one. Bishop Charles solemnly promulgated the reunification of the parishes of Sacred Heart, Hastings; Immaculate Conception, Paki Paki; Our Lady of Lourdes, Havelock North; and St Peter Chanel, Hastings; to become The Catholic Parish of Hastings – Te Parihi Katorika ki Heretaunga.
As we made this turn of journey in faith, we also looked back with gratitude for those who had gone before us, both the living and the dead, and gave thanks to God for the sacrifices and witness that have shaped us into the people we are today. Hawke’s Bay has been an historic cradle of faith in New Zealand and is home to many chapters of the stories of our families, the Society of Mary, the Josephite Sisters, Mother Suzanne Aubert and her love and care for the Paki Paki people, and our three Catholic schools.
We look forward to the future with enthusiasm as we put our trust in Our Lord to guide us through this journey of change and accepting this change with an open heart.
Early History of Hastings Parish
Hastings first parish priest in 1882 was Fr Euloge Reignier, a French Marist priest known as ‘the Apostle of Hawke’s Bay’ for the mission work he carried out in the region, particularly among Māori. Priests from the Society of Mary served Hastings for more than 115 years and left an impressive legacy of pastoral ministry, education and administration.
1880: the first church at Paki Paki built by Fr Soulas opened and blessed by Fr Yardin.
1882: Bishop Redwood opens and blesses the Church of the Sacred Heart.
1884: A preliminary meeting of the Hibernian Society held at Kelly’s Hotel.
1885: Hastings is made a separate parish from Meeanee. Fr PJ Smyth appointed parish priest of Hastings.
1886: New presbytery and hall-school built.
1888: Srs of St Joseph arrive. New school blessed by Bishop Grimes of Christchurch.
1895: Archbishop Redwood, assisted by Bishop Grimes, blesses and opens new Sacred Heart Church.
1901: Fr Smyth blesses a new two-story convent.
1926: Catholic Tennis Club formed, cnr Miller and Victoria Sts.
1931: Hawke’s Bay earthquake – Fr Gondringer, parish priest of Hastings is killed.
1932: Ladies’ Conference of St Vincent de Paul Society, established.
1935: Opening of new St Joseph’s School.
1939: Marist Third Order established.
1941: Opening of St John’s College, Frederick St. Fr John Dowling first Rector.
1945: Convent Memorial Baths opened.
1947: First Charity Ball in Hastings.
1953: First meeting of Catholic Women’s League. Little Sisters of the Poor arrive.
1957: St Mary’s school at Mahora opened. St Teresa’s Church Hall at Whakatu opened.
1959: New church at Havelock North blessed and opened.
1963: Confraternity of Christian Doctrine (CCD) founded.
1979: Hastings is part of the new diocese of Palmerston North.
1982: Sacred Heart Church celebrates centenary.
1996/97: Marist priests leave Hastings.
Faith and Ministry
Deb Lucy, Pastoral Co-ordinator
Ours is a very active and enriched, multicultural faith community with a variety of activities and ministries. Here is a short introduction to just some of our parish’s many recent and on-going events.
On the fourth Sunday of every month, we have a multicultural Mass at St Peter Chanel Church. The first reading and the Prayers of the Faithful are spoken in different languages with English on screen so everyone feels connected to the Mass. Hymns are sung in English and other languages. This Mass truly reflects the diversity and coming together as one in Christ, through whatever language is spoken. We have an Indian Mass on the last Saturday of the month, a Tongan Mass on the last Friday evening of the month, and a Filipino Mass on the first Monday evening of the month.
Seasonal Workers’ Lunch
Coinciding with the multicultural Mass at St Peter Chanel Church, parishioners are asked to bring a plate for a welcome lunch put on for our seasonal workers on the fourth Sunday in March. Fr Vince always prepares a BBQ of sausages, patties and bread.
The seasonal workers, many from overseas, are welcomed into the family of the Catholic Parish of Hastings and looked after by a group of caring parishioners. The notices in our February newsletters requesting clothing and household items result in several items, which are available to the workers on the day of the lunch.
Senior Caring Companions
Each month on the second Thursday, starting at 1.30pm, a get together of our senior parishioners takes place. The organiser, Fay Evans, arranges a variety of activities and events for these afternoons. Included are guest speakers, school children singing, and themes such as Anzac Day. Christmas Day and St Patrick’s Day are highlights, which are looked forward to with singalongs of old favourites.
Madonna Maria Church at St Mary’s School
Here we have Adoration, every Tuesday, 9am‒1pm, a school Mass every Friday morning, and a 40-hour Adoration once a year.
Year of Mercy
The Year of Mercy began with a Mass celebrated on 6 November 2015 at Immaculate Conception, Paki Paki, with the church full to the brim! Bishop Peter Cullinane, spoke about how the Year of Mercy pertains to how we live in the modern world. A parish formation evening was held, and over the next 12 months three pilgrimages were made by various groups to the Cathedral of the Holy Spirit to walk through the Holy Doors of the Cathedral. They included the Indian community, a youth group and parishioners. To commemorate the end of the Year of Mercy, over 300 parishioners attended an outdoor Mass at St Mary’s School celebrated by Fr Vince Onesi, Fr Nathaniel Brazil and Fr Manoj Mathew.
Youth co-ordinator, Faaki Tuanaki, is dedicated to her Catholic faith and the young people who attend the youth group held every Friday evening at St Peter Chanel Hall.
Young people help parishioners with gardening, painting and singing Christmas carols. Their fundraising activities help cover costs for camps and outings during the holidays, such as the Life-Teen Summer Camp.
Our young people enjoy hosting other youth groups from around the country. Two of these groups travelled from Orakei in Auckland and from Palmerston North over the Easter weekend. Celebrations included Mass on Easter Monday morning and later in the afternoon a visit to Splash Planet. In March they hosted a group from Lower Hutt who joined the Saturday night youth group and the Sunday youth Mass.
Check us out on FaceBook @ The Catholic Parish of Hastings and download our new App from the App Store ‘The Catholic Parish of Hastings’.
Papal Award Recipients
At the St Peter Chanel Jubilee Mass on 11 September 2016, Papal Medals in recognition of dedication were awarded to Mr Allan James Brady, Mrs Julienne McCracken, Mr Brian James Mc Flynn, Mr Michael Thomas Martin, Mr James Moran, Mrs Joan Thompson and Sr Shirley Tunnicliffe.
During 2016 we were sad to say goodbye to two very respected and well-liked priests, Fr Pat Cooke and Fr Simon Story, who had both become not just our parish priests but our friends. Their farewell dinners were a true reflection of our communities coming together to celebrating our time with both these amazing priests. In January this year we also sadly farewelled Fr Manoj who left our parish to take up his new position at St Mary’s in Palmerston North.
Bishop Charles celebrated a combined school Mass for the 2017 academic year in the St John’s College Gym on Thursday 9 February. Teachers and staff from St Mary’s and St Joseph’s schools and St John’s College staff and students together celebrated the special character of our parish and schools.
Sisters of Compassion in Hastings
Sr Mary Graham dolc
The Mother Aubert Mission Centre opened in Flaxmere, Hastings, in 1979. Suzanne Aubert had lived in the area from 1871–1883. In 1977, Bishop Delargey invited the Sisters of Compassion to provide a Mass Centre and gathering place in the new suburb of Flaxmere. Srs Annette and Winifred assessed the needs for a centre and were
supported by the Hastings Parish and the Māori Mission Centre in Paki Paki.
Since then, the sisters have visited and supported many families including teaching CCD classes. They have tried to reach out in friendship and guidance to all in need, and have welcomed many different cultural groups.
Many changes have taken place – people now attend Mass at St Peter Chanel in town; the parish manages the Aubert Centre; and the hall is used for programmes including domestic-violence prevention.
The sisters who live at the centre are involved in prison ministry, visiting the elderly, taking Eucharist into people’s homes, and supporting the aged and the dying. They deliver fresh vegetables grown by the prisoners to people in need. The sisters are involved with many parish groups – Lenten and Advent discussion groups, the St Vincent de Paul Society, the Passionist Family group and others. The Sisters of Compassion enjoy continuing to serve the community from the Aubert Centre.
Sisters of St Joseph – Hastings
Sr Marlene Dunn rsj
On 13 September 1888 three Sisters arrived in Hastings from Whanganui and, from their new convent, began teaching at St Joseph’s Primary School the following year. The 1931 earthquake resulted in the community living in tents in the backyard of the convent and being a kind of social service, one-stop-shop for the local people. By 1935 girls who wanted to gain a secondary education were taught at the primary school in a department titled St Joseph’s Convent High School. A new building, later renamed St Joseph’s College, was officially opened in 1951, with a name change to Tenison College in 1969.
The Sisters staffed St Mary’s Primary School when it opened in 1957 and were able to leave some Sisters present to ease the transition to very committed lay staff in 1975. Josephite communities were established in Waipawa in 1896 until 1975 and in Waipukurau from 1926 until 2004. While being primarily school teachers, some Sisters also taught music and speech, and many of the Sisters were involved in visiting the families, the sick and the bereaved.
The Josephite presence remains with Hastings-born Srs Mary McCann, Lucille Taylor and Marlene Dunn who were educated by the Josephites and who have taught here. They continue to support St Joseph’s and St Mary’s Primary Schools in various ways. The Sisters are also involved in St Vincent de Paul, leading liturgies, pastoral care and visitation in the community, taking communion to the sick, and ecology and social justice issues.
Saint Vincent de Paul – Hastings Area Conferences
The Society of St Vincent de Paul is very much alive in Hastings, Havelock North, and Central Hawke’s Bay. The four Conferences are actively seeking and dealing with the requirements of those in need.
As well as the day-to-day services to the needy, such as provision of food parcels, responding to assistance requirements, visiting the sick and the elderly, the four Conferences are working with the Environment and Social Justice Group on a project to provide warm clothing for children in need, as identified by the Society.
The St Vincent de Paul Society has identified 136 children, from babies to 10-year-olds, to provide thermal tops and leggings, as well as a host of other types of warm clothing.
Parishioner response is excellent. The project in itself is a very good portrayal of how Catholic groups can work well with each other. Parishioner response confirms the generosity of the parishioners of the Hastings Parish.
Hastings and suburbs are fortunate to have two SVdP op shops – Hastings and Flaxmere. Both have to compete with the 23 other op shops in town. Most days customer numbers suggest they are competing well. And, they are seen as the visual face of the Society.
The Eucharistic Community of Paki Paki
The Eucharistic Community of Paki Paki, south of Hastings, is rich in Māori and Church history. Chief Urupeni Puhara gifted land to the Church for the Catholic people there. At the Immaculate Conception Church, local parishioners are at the door on Sundays to warmly welcome parishioners and visitors. They carry on the mission of their forebears. Venerable Suzanne Aubert, Meri Hohepa, lived alongside them. A trust has been established to restore Aubert’s former church (1888).
Tongan Cathechist for Pasifika Peoples
Tavita Faka’osi started his calling to work with those affected by domestic violence through his background of training for the priesthood for 10 years, running a business employing seasonal workers in the horticulture sector and raising his family. He has built up a rapport with people from all walks of life.
His appointment as a cathechist during the 1990s galvanised him into sharing his faith experience among Pasifika people through education, spiritual and music programmes at the Aubert Centre in Flaxmere. Based from the Aubert Centre, Tavita is now employed as a manager by DOVE Hawke’s Bay in partnership with Kainga Pasifika Services to develop a response to the issue of family violence; a service by Pasifika for Pasifika.
St Joseph’s School
St Joseph’s Primary School Hastings is truly an expression of the Catholic Church. The word Catholic means universal and you can’t get more universal than 17 different ethnicities within the school gate. This diversity reflects the changing face of New Zealand.
St Joseph’s School has a long proud history in Hastings, initially starting as a small primary school in the 1880s, and then morphing into a high school and back into a primary school. Leading the school every step of the way have been the Sisters of Saint Joseph.
In the 1880s, three sisters of St Joseph of Nazareth, Srs Teresa, Philomena and Bernard, came from Whanganui to Hastings to open a convent and school. The school was initially named Sacred Heart and was blessed and officially opened on 17 September 1888 – four days after the sisters’ arrival. Classes started in February 1889. In 1935 the new St Joseph’s School opened for boys and girls with separate sections for primary and secondary education. St John’s opened in 1941 and St Joseph’s opened in 1951 as a girls’ high school. The school remained in that role for 30 years and since then, has served as a primary school. The remaining Sister of St Joseph, a principal, left the school in 1987.
These inspirational women remain a strong influence today, helping children with their learning. They also support staff by sharing knowledge of the Catholic faith as part of the school’s on-going professional development in Religious Education.
The children of Saint Joseph’s School are proud to belong to the Catholic Parish of Hastings. They love the opportunity to use their talents for various liturgical celebrations within the different faith communities in Hastings. Parishioners are delighted to have such enthusiastic and talented children leading the singing at special Feast Days.
St Joseph’s School believes in following the example set by St Mary of the Cross MacKillop. We make room for all, we never see a need without doing something about it, we do our bit to put our faith into action and most importantly we listen to God.
You can find out more about St Joseph’s School by checking out our website (www.stjos.school.nz).
St John’s College
St John’s College has evolved through the vision of the Marist Fathers who founded the College in 1941. The college has a diverse, multicultural roll and aims to provide a high-quality education for young men, grounded in gospel values within our Catholic tradition. We have an emphasis on literacy and numeracy, a range of sporting opportunities, activities to celebrate our cultural heritage and a great house system that fosters the school spirit and competition. The number of students achieving national qualifications is well above the national mean for similar decile schools.
Our culture is centred on the life of Jesus Christ and the example he set for all of us. We strive to teach these values and those of our founding Marist Fathers, nurturing young men in an experience of living in a Catholic community.
There are school Masses weekly, combined Masses with local parishes and our sister school, Sacred Heart College, Napier, assembly and classroom prayers, liturgies and retreats, Benediction, and sacramental programmes.
Sport is an integral part of our school for character development. There is compulsory participation in winter sports for Years 9‒10 students, supported by first-class coaches, and most of the seniors take part in sport. Our Sports Institute was founded in 2014 to support our athletes attain their goals.
St John’s College has a proud tradition of kapa haka. Along with Māori studies, students participate in Māori cultural activities like the inter-house haka competition.
Our values are grounded in respect – towards ourselves and to others. Action is fundamental to our beliefs; if we say it, we must follow with action – ‘In Deed and in Truth’.
St Mary’s School
St Mary’s Catholic Primary School, Frederick St, Mahora, Hastings, is an integrated school for Yr 1–8 students. Academic, physical, social, cultural and spiritual teaching form the foundation of each child’s education. Our environment nurtures lifelong learning, and accentuates individual abilities and talents within a framework of Catholic belief and practice.
The Gospel values of Jesus Christ, including love, compassion and forgiveness, contribute to a school community that cares about the family, New Zealand society and the world.
Prayer is an integral part of daily school life and our students attend Mass regularly in the Madonna Maria Chapel on our school site. Children are prepared for the Sacraments of First Reconciliation and First Holy Communion in partnership with the Parish.
Mary, the Mother of God, is our Patron Saint.