Closing Mass for Our Lady of Fatima Church, Waikanae

WelCom October 2019: On Sunday 18 August, Our Lady of Kāpiti parishioners gathered celebrate a final Mass of farewell to their much-loved Our Lady of Fatima Church, 29 Parata St, Waikanae….

WelCom October 2019:

On Sunday 18 August, Our Lady of Kāpiti parishioners gathered celebrate a final Mass of farewell to their much-loved Our Lady of Fatima Church, 29 Parata St, Waikanae. The church, which has served generations, has been closed and sold as the parish looks to the future with its new parish centre complex being developed in Presentation Drive, Paraparaumu, and due to open Easter 2020. 

The Karanga was led by Pauline and Tuki Takiwa and responded to by Wai Stewart. Parish priest Fr Michael McCabe and Fr Philip Cody sm concelebrated along with Fr Terry Carr. Fr Phil represents the links with Pukekaraka from which the parish was founded in 1930.

While this was a sad occasion, Fr Michael’s clear homily, the Scriptural readings, the dedicated prayers of intercession and shared memories were delivered with respect and grace as the congregation looked to a better future. ‘It was a beautiful Liturgy,’ Fr Michael said.

In his homily Fr Michael said, ‘At the end of October 2018 we gathered for an outdoor Mass in Our Lady of Kāpiti School’s courtyard after which we processed to the site of our new church and parish centre. We were accompanied by Cardinal Tom Williams and Fr Terry Carr. We prayed prayers of rededication on the land originally blessed by Cardinal John Dew and our kaumatuas and kuias in 2015. At the end of my homily that day I said:

“Over the next 18 months we will all need a trusting faith with a fearless openness to the signs of the times; a trusting faith that will allow us to live out our faith together as we continue to build a future full of hope… That is my prayer – that we will become a new people for a new church…”.

‘It was the phrase used by the people of Coventry when they rebuilt their Cathedral after it had been bombed during the Second World War. The world had changed and their city had changed and they needed to be a new people to minister to this world. Since that October day, I have been the privileged witness of wonderful grace and growth in our parish. For example, in our parish school, which has flourished since its opening two and a half years ago, and the July Benefit Impact Workshop reminding us of why we are church – to serve the vulnerable and the disadvantaged and to become advocates for those in need, for those on the edges of society. 

‘Like you I have had to continually reflect on what it means to become a new person in Christ. Every one of us has a common bond through baptism, but increasingly, I believe within our baptismal call there is always another baptism – a baptism of fire that Jesus talks about in today’s gospel. This is the baptism of faith in which our hearts are purified.

‘Following Jesus will inevitably bring us into tension and conflict – not only with a secular world, which increasingly devalues the gift of life especially when it is unborn or frail and sick – but also within the Body of Christ – the Church. We are living through a time of tension in the Church where leaders and former leaders openly undermine God’s anointed leaders.

‘Within tension and conflict, be it personal or communal, there are always seeds of possibility and hope and that is who we are – a people of hope. The pascal mystery, that is, the dying and rising of Jesus, reminds us that our losses do not define us. What defines us is the grace of Christ Jesus transforming us into a people of hope – people who light up the darkness in so many wonderful ways in their families, in this community of Kāpiti, and beyond our coastline.

‘We all carry some very precious memories from Our Lady of Fatima Church – a church made from an old church that began in Amohia Street in Paraparaumu over 100 years ago. It was then shifted to Te Horo for a time and then, in the 1950s, moved to Waikanae. It has served us well and now is the time to do something fresh and new, especially for those who follow us in Our Lady of Kāpiti parish. It is these memories will sustain us as we journey together and work hard to continue to be a new people for our new church. 

‘May the memory of their courage and fidelity to Christ continue to inspire us.

See: Building a Church – A Journey of Faith and Hope