WelCom News
A newspaper for the Wellington and Palmerston North Catholic Dioceses

Our Lady of the Bays Amalgamation Mass

WelCom December 2017:

Fr Andrew Kim

‘A community of joyful disciples growing together and sharing Christ’s message’.

Congregation enjoying picnic. Photos: Quentin Poulaert

Congregation in fine voice.

On Sunday October 29, Cardinal John Dew together with members of the five church communities of Takaka, Motueka, Waimea West, Wakefield, and Richmond gathered as one parish family at St Peter Chanel Church in Motueka. They came to celebrate the inauguration of Our Lady of the Bays Parish. All five communities – covering a distance of 104 kilometres – were represented including youth from our three Catholic schools: St Peter Chanel, Saint Paul’s and Garin College.

Our celebration began with a kāranga by the Kaumātua of Motueka, welcoming visitors and the people from the other four church communities.

The congregation were in fine voice and filled the church with prayer and beautiful songs, including a new hymn written for the occasion by parishioner Doug Hill.

The capacity-filled church reflected the official proclamation of the new parish, read by principal Mass celebrant, Cardinal John. During the rite of inauguration, Cardinal John proclaimed the identity, history, prayer life, generosity of spirit and pastoral outreach of our five communities coming together as one, to be nurtured in the new parish of Our Lady of the Bays.

Using five small candles, representatives from each of the communities lit one larger beautifully-decorated candle as a symbol of the newly established parish.

Cardinal John called on and commissioned the pastoral team – Fr Seph Pijfers, Fr Andrew Kim and Lay Pastoral Leader Merrick Mitchell – to love and serve the people entrusted to their care.

Cardinal John also acknowledged and thanked Fr Patrick Maloney, in ‘his retirement’ after parish life in Dunedin, for the contribution he has made to the people of
the Motueka church community
over the past 14 years. The congregation’s lengthy ovation was testament to Fr Patrick’s ministry.

After the inspiring and uplifting Mass, we gathered for our first Parish picnic in the church grounds enjoying the beautifully-iced ‘Amalgamation’ cake, created by one of our parishioners, and a BBQ.

Our Lady of the Bays is the first amalgamated parish after the 2017 Synod. The words: ‘Go, you are sent…to build community’ are fitting. We are ready to work together to let the joy of Christ shine in our parish – Our Lady of the Bays.


Mary Hill

The establishment of the Archdiocese’s newest parish, Our Lady of the Bays, makes it not only the most recent parish but also one that is arguably the most diverse in terms of geography and history.

The five Tasman churches within the parish extend from the fertile Waimea Plains over the marble Western mountains to the sands of Golden Bay. Historically, Ss Peter and Paul at Waimea West is the oldest, being established by Fr Garin in 1855 and Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Richmond, with its opening in 1939, the youngest.

Now these two together with Sacred Heart, Takaka, St Joseph’s, Wakefield, and St Peter Chanel, Motueka form one parish under the mantle of Our Lady of the Bays. The parish logo portrays Mary and the child Jesus being carried on the waves of the seas and rivers that connect all five churches – a connection that is not only physical but also reflects our spiritual connection to one another through the water of Baptism.

It was with a great sense of unity the people from these five churches came together on Sunday 29 October at Motueka and expressed their love of God and of each other in the Amalgamation Mass.

The first verse of our parish anthem, Here We Stand, composed especially for the occasion by Doug Hill, encapsulates the feeling of the day:

Under Kahurangi and the
marble mountain

This is our home, we are glad
to serve You here

From far and near,
You have drawn us here

At this special moment,
let us be a sign to the world.