WelCom April 2020:
New church and parish centre created
Ngā mihi nui ki te Pāriha o tō tātou Kahurangi o Kāpiti
Kua hangaia tētehi whare karakia me tētehi Huimanga Pāriha hōu
When Cardinal John Dew, Archbishop of Wellington, called for our parishes to ‘build a future full of hope that builds on the past’, Our Lady of Kāpiti Parish – Te Whaea Tapu o Kāpiti, responded with fervour. Over the last six years the parish community has rallied, along with their talented project teams, to dream, plan, design, fundraise and build a brand-new church and parish centre alongside their three-year-old school and hall. The combined site lies within the gaze of the statue of Mary, Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception, high on the Paraparaumu hill overlooking Kāpiti Coast. The construction of Our Lady of Kāpiti Church and Parish Centre is now complete. Congratulations to the parish and all involved. Reflections and highlights about their remarkable journey are shared in this special feature.
The official opening of the church was due to take place on Palm Sunday, 5 April 2020. However, it will not now be open until the Covid-19 restrictions are lifted. As parish priest Fr Michael McCabe says, ‘It will be formally opened and blessed in God’s good time’.
New Our Lady of Kāpiti Church integral to community prayer life
+ John A. Cardinal Dew, Archbishop of Wellington
We are privileged to be with Jesus in so many ways – in prayer and in responding to his invitation ‘Remain in my love’ (John 15: 9). If we do not take time or create time to be alone with Jesus in prayer and contemplation, our time when we are together with others in our Christian communities will not bear much fruit.
Our personal prayer enhances our prayer as a community and our community prayer enhances our personal prayer. Our places of prayer are essential and important. The new Our Lady of Kāpiti Church is integral to the prayer life of this community and of everyone.
The new church will enable us to pray personally and in community. In turn, that prayer will determine how we share the Gospel with society around us, and how we will respond to the poor and needy. This church is beautiful. Our churches need to be places of beauty and not just functional. The engagement of all the people, the beauty and all that happens in prayer, in music, enables our growth as followers of Jesus. Here people will meet God in all sorts of ways and will be sent out into the world.
I love the line from the document Ecclesia in Oceania that says, ‘The purpose of being with Jesus is to go forth from Jesus in his power and with his grace.’ In this church people will know the presence of Jesus in Word and Sacrament, in one another, in the presence of the servant priest, and from here they will go out in his power and with his grace.
I thank everyone who has been so generously involved in the building of this new church. This is a wonderful place to come to give thanks to God and to be nourished for our baptismal Mission in the world around us. Sincere thanks and warmest congratulations to all concerned.
The Blessing of Accompaniment
Michael McCabe, Parish Priest
Pope Francis speaks often about accompaniment – the gift of being present with the people of God on our journey of faith. He also writes beautifully about the gift of discernment – the active process of listening to the signs of the times and the particular needs of the Church within a particular culture and time.
To walk with the people of God in Our Lady of Kāpiti Parish since its formation six years ago has been my privilege as its pastor. The leadership groups of finance, pastoral council and liturgy, from the earlier parishes of St Patrick’s and Our Lady of Fatima combined and, in an admirable spirit of unity, formed its new pastoral vision as our response to Cardinal John Dew’s pastoral letter, ‘A Future Full of Hope.’
The completion and opening of our new parish church and parish centre is the fruit of much patient discernment and prayer. We began with a series of memorable breakfast meetings as the redevelopment group began to dream and plan for the future needs and good of the parish. Our journey has involved the heartache of closing three churches and parish school but these losses have now become a wellspring of hope for our future ministries in Christ.
‘Mā te Atua tātou katoa e manaaki – May God keep us all in His care.’
‘The end of the beginning!’
Nick Maher, Chair of Finance Committee
We have been led to this new church by God’s providence. This has been supported by the generosity of parishioners, the dedication by the building people and tradespeople alike and the wisdom and determination shown by our parish priest and members of the steering committee.
This is the end of the beginning.
The call now is to use this spiritual place as a springboard in developing our faith and sharing it with others by our deeds.
Behind them stretched the roadway they had travelledTrasna by Raphael Considene
Ahead, mist hid the Track.
We are a Pilgrim People still!
Having arrived at this point of reflection and change we also acknowledge with gratitude those that are providing bridging finance of about $1.6m, interest free.
Tomorrow’s duty must be to repay this generosity as quickly as possible.
What a journey!
Bob Houston, Parish Chair
Fr Michael often speaks of the everyday miracles that happen in our lives. Couldn’t the completion and commission of new Our Lady of Kāpiti Church and Parish Centre be another one?
When a particular job had to be done and a specialised talent required, someone was always there to help. There are have been too many involved to nominate individuals. However I make a special mention to our friend and master communicator, Justin du Fresne, who was on hand from the start to tell the story as it unfolded. Then God took him, plus a few of our other dedicated supporters, from us. But that is life as we know it.
I also acknowledge the magnificent leadership and contributions of Fr Michael – an inspired and gifted preacher, whose immense priestly workload continued in addition to overseeing the massive building project.
Funding for this multi-million dollar project was achieved through the generosity of so many – bequests, planned giving, donations, and a raft of social fund-raising initiatives. These included home dinner parties, luncheons, a weekly after-Mass produce and baking shop, karaoke evenings, Filipino entertainment and food, selling goods on Trade Me, dine and dance evenings and countless other events. These events as well as adding valuable dollars to the cause, were all brilliant in the mission of building community.
Throughout the project with so many variables, prayer and consensus won out along the way. We had a parish that continued to operate, without our own bricks and mortar, in a variety and often novel venues. I think our parish is stronger today than when this pilgrimage commenced. Step back six years, and we entered this exercise as two parishes, Paraparaumu and Waikanae. Today we move forward, as a large parish united as one – Our Lady of Kāpiti Parish – Te Whaea Tapu o Kāpiti.
Everyone is welcome to join us on the journey.
Our Lady of Kāpiti Church and Parish Centre
Our Lady of Kāpiti Timeline
22 November 2009
Closing of Our Lady of Lourdes Church, Paekakariki.
15 June 2013
Promulgation by Cardinal John Dew forming the Parish of Our Lady of Kāpiti – Te Whaea Tapu O Kāpiti, from St Patrick’s Paraparaumu and Our Lady of Fatima Waikanae and appointment of Fr Michael McCabe as Parish Priest.
Formation of Pastoral Plan from combined Parish Councils and Development Group breakfast meetings begin.
Purchase of land at Milne Drive – later renamed as Presentation Way – Paraparaumu.
28 June 2015
Site blessing – Tuki and Pauline Takiwa, Ake Taiaki, Margeurite Osborne and Fr Michael McCabe.
26 January 2016
Site blessing for new school and hall by Cardinal John Dew.
I February 2017
Opening of Our Lady of Kāpiti School.
5 February 2017
Closing Mass for St Patrick’s Church and Presbytery, Paraparaumu.
17 March 2017
Formal blessing of new parish school and hall by Cardinal John Dew.
10 June 2017
Blessing and opening of new L’Arche community homes by Fr Michael.
28 October 2018
Outdoor Mass and re-dedication of site for Church and Parish Centre by Cardinal Tom Williams, Fr Michael and other priests.
Earthworks and construction begin.
22 November 2018
Dawn blessing and burial of three kete containing precious taonga.
18 August 2019
Closing Mass for Our Lady of Fatima Church and Presbytery, Waikanae.
In God’s good time
Formal opening and blessing of Our Lady of Kāpiti Church and Parish Centre.
Whilst the brief for the new church and parish centre was to construct a building that will last over 100 years, many relics and elements from the previous three churches have been incorporated within the new church and centre.
New church is a sign of hope
Noreen McGrath, Community Leader, Presentation Sisters Aotearoa New Zealand
This is truly an exciting time in the evolution of this parish. Since we Presentations Sisters began here in Paraparaumu, away back in 1954, we have seen many changes down the years. As Cardinal Newman (St John Henry Newman) said, ‘to live is to change’. We are standing on the shoulders of all those who lived and worshipped in this area.
The beginnings are contained within the structure with St Patrick’s statue in the foundation and the stained-glass windows in the hall. The story continues to evolve and the driveway named ‘Presentation Way’ is a constant reminder we were part of this parish. It will lead the children to school and parishioners to the Sunday Mass in the spirit of all that has gone before, while our presence continues with our links through visits to the school and Associate Friends of Nano group.
Now is a new era and we are proud of all who have made this possible. This new church reminds us we are the people of God who see the need to gather as a community to worship God our creator and be at one with each other as a community of faith caring for and loving each other.
It calls us forward to be today a sign of hope for future generations to come.
Creating a journey together
Mary Jackson Kay rc, Cenacle Congregational Leader
The Cenacle Community was warmly welcomed to the Kāpiti Coast 10 years ago. We love being parishioners and celebrating the birth and growth of the Parish of Our Lady of Kāpiti. A visible sign of growth has been the building of the new church, community and school facilities. The generosity and hard work of so many people is inspiring.
After the Ascension, Our Lady of the Cenacle, with the relatives and friends of Jesus, gathered together in the Cenacle to share their memories of Jesus, to pray and try to work out what next – they shared their grief, their dreams. And as they shared, they found courage to move forward together. This describes the pain and the grief of letting go and creating a new parish together.
Four words sum up the experience of this journey together: vulnerability, hospitality, solidarity and communion.
The whole group of believers was united, heart and soul; no one claimed for their own use anything they had as everything they owned was held in common.Acts 4:32
A parish on the move
David and Catherine Carruthers, Parishioners
This is an extraordinary parish! Vibrant, inclusive, outward looking, prayerful, compassionate and welcoming.
The injunction to silent prayer on special days is hard to maintain. A considerable distance from the church at any Mass time, the hum of many voices can be heard as friends greet one another, new friends are welcomed and news exchanged. There is an energy here, and concern for others;
the old/new message of hope and joy can be heard in the music and liturgy.
Close by the new school another wonderful thing has been achieved – our impressive new church reflecting the guardianship of Our Lady.
Not for this parish the defensive, protective, negative retreat so often typifying Church today. Blessed with an energetic, positive parish priest and with a strong collective revolving leadership, this is a parish on the move. The new church is the result of that and the foundation for another beginning.
A True Spirit of Christianity
Jim and Joan Bolger, Parishioners
Joan and I arrived in Waikanae in January 2013 and very soon became aware of plans to bring the Catholic Community of Paraparaumu and Waikanae into a single parish, Our Lady of Kāpiti.
Then St Patrick’s Church, Paraparaumu, was declared an earthquake risk and so the discussion moved to building a new church for a new parish.
A huge but exciting challenge and as relatively new parishioners we watched how the parish came together to face that challenge and now we can see the result of the work of many, expressed in our beautiful new church.
I acknowledge some parishioners have found the changes stressful but change is always happening as we have all found out in recent days with the changes we have had to make with the coronavirus pandemic.
I congratulate fellow parishioners who guided by Fr Michael and our lay leaders have led us through the challenges. Now it’s up to us parishioners to show the true spirit of Christianity and the generosity of our faith and go out and embrace a tomorrow that will hold many more challenges and changes.
Memories of the Journey
David Knight, Parishioner
Looking back over the past five years my mind halts in disarray as I try to recall all the many events that have taken place in our parish journey towards building and completing our new church. My wife Velma and I have attended and assisted with events we would never have envisaged during retirement and have been so much the richer for doing so. So many parishioners have become our good friends, we’ve enjoyed memorable films, quiz and curry evenings, a garden party, fashion parades, a very special high tea, and a vast number of other events to raise the fiscal barometer along the way. What a journey! I am certain our parish has drawn ever closer for not only have we built a church, we’ve built a new parish too.
Prayer Group Coming Home
Glen McCullough, Parishioner
For at least one prayer group in Our Lady of Kāpiti Parish, the opening of the new church and parish centre means we can come home. Previously the ‘Monday Afternoon Prayer Group’ used the meeting room at Our Lady of Fatima. After that church was closed, we were fortunate in finding a temporary home at the Baptist church in Waikanae. Their prayer room was let to us for a nominal fee and we had access to their kitchen facilities, so we will remember with gratitude our fellow Christians, the Baptists.
Now we are looking forward to meeting in our own building with all the facilities we need in our familiar Catholic environment.
Forging new friendships
Velma Knight, Parishioner
As part of our fundraising for our new Our Lady of Kāpiti Church our weekly produce stalls after Sunday Mass have been immensely popular during the past four years. Dozens of faithful patrons have made this effort truly worthwhile and many new friendships have been made along the way. The smell of hot cheese and date scones contributed to the excellent patronage each week as parishioners bought their morning tea after Sunday Mass. And let’s not forget the variety of baking, garden produce, biscuits, jams and preserves. Our produce stalls have proved an excellent source of fundraising – we have raised over $52,000 for our new church – and make no mistake we have not finished yet!
Our Own Sacred Space
Jacqui McLaughlin, Youth Coordinator
Up on the Kāpiti Coast, we have a vibrant and well-supported youth ministry where we aim to provide as many opportunities as we can to support young people on their spiritual journey and foster their love of God. Youth groups are but one facet of ministry and we are always seeking to widen our doors to look at the possibilities that will enable us to communicate with and minister to our youth where they are at. Our new church offers an amazing new opportunity to encourage our young people to increase their love of God in a space dedicated to prayer whether through the celebration of the Mass or through prayer experiences in both the church and chapel. Our community is so blessed to have a new sacred space in our own backyard.
Warm Congratulations from Kāpiti Coast Mayor
K (Guru) Gurunathan JP, MA, Mayor, Kāpiti Coast District Council
The Catholic Church has played a significant part in the development of New Zealand from 1838, the time of the first Mass, in a new settlement. Similarly, the Catholic Church has had a real presence here on the Kāpiti Coast dating back to 1840 with the establishment of Pukekaraka, the oldest continually-used church in the country.
A number of Catholic churches have served the Kāpiti Coast well, ensuring the Catholics of Kāpiti have always had a home for devotion.
As history has progressed and the needs have changed, the Catholic community of Our Lady of Kāpiti Parish made both a brave and wise decision to relocate the school and construct a brand-new church, to ‘future-proof’ Catholicism in the district for the next 100 years and more. All of this virtually in the shadow of a local landmark, and part of our Heritage Trail, the statue of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception on the hill in Paraparaumu.
Our Kāpiti Coast District Council has and will continue to work diligently with Our Lady of Kāpiti Parish in any future developments. We congratulate Our Lady of Kāpiti Parish – Te Whaea Tapu o Kāpiti, on achieving this significant milestone.