Archbishop John Dew
Just over a year ago – after a long period of consultation with all the parishes – I promulgated the document announcing some parishes would be merging to form new parishes. Six new parishes will come into being on 1 February 2015 and another group on 1 February 2016.
This year has been a time of further consultation, a time for parishes to reflect together, to pray together about what it means to be a parish, and to know the parish is the presence of the Church in a given territory. It’s an environment for hearing God’s Word, for growth in the Christian church, for dialogue, proclamation, charitable outreach, worship and celebration. In all these activities the parish encourages, educates and trains its members to be evangelisers.
Pope Francis has described the parish as: ‘a community of communities, a sanctuary where the thirsty come to drink in the midst of their journey, and a centre of constant missionary outreach’.
I have been deeply impressed with the amount of consultation, reflection and energy all those parish groupings have invested to express a vision and a new name that says something about their parish. I am also impressed with the groups for providing me an Implementation Plan that outlines how they are going about setting up their new parish and what they will be doing in the first few months of its existence.
After my consultation with the Council of Priests, who have agreed to the establishment of these new parishes, it is a great privilege now to be able to announce the following with effect from 1 February 2015.
The three parishes of the Wairarapa – St Patrick’s, Masterton, St Mary’s, Carterton, and St Teresa’s, Featherston – will become one parish with the name of The Catholic Parish of Wairarapa.
In the same way, Our Lady of Grace, Heretaunga, and St Francis Xavier, Stokes Valley, will become one new parish with the name of The Parish of Our Lady of the Valleys.
The parishes of St Michael’s, Taita; St Bernadette’s, Naenae; St Martin de Porres, Avalon; and St Peter and Paul’s, Lower Hutt; also become a new parish with the name of Te Awakairangi and with the Good Shepherd as its Patron.
Further south in the Hutt Valley the parishes of St Patrick’s, Wainuiomata; San Antonio, Eastbourne; Our Lady of the Rosary, Waiwhetu; and Sacred Heart, Petone; become a new parish with the name of the Parish of the Holy Spirit – Te Wairua Tapu.
The parishes of Our Lady of Fatima, Tawa; and St Pius X, Titahi Bay; become one new parish with the name of Our Lady of Hope Parish.
In the Wellington East area the three parishes of St Patrick’s, Kilbirnie; Holy Cross, Miramar; and St Anthony’s, Seatoun; become a new parish with the name of Holy Trinity Parish.
I thank all the people in those areas who have worked so hard to consult with many people about the name for their new parish and to work on the Implementation Plan.
We pray in thanksgiving for all that has been done and ask God’s abundant blessings for the life and work of those parishes in the future.
Masses will be held in 2015 to celebrate the inauguration of the new parishes:
1 February: Our Lady of the Valleys
8 February: Te Awakairangi
15 February: Our Lady of Hope
1 March: Catholic Parish of Wairarapa
8 March: Parish of the Holy Spirit – Te Wairua Tapu
10 May: Holy Trinity Parish