St Joseph’s, Mount Victoria, crowned its new church at Easter with a full immersion baptism. For the parish this was the culmination of some five years of searching for a way to move from the old to the new.
Kate Bell puts this Easter moment in context.
St Joseph’s parish has moved through significant transitions’≈°√É‚Äû’¬†during the past five years’≈°√É‚Äû’¬†(farewell/waka noa’≈°√É‚Äû’¬†ceremony for our old church’≈°√É‚Äû’¬†-‘≈°√É‚Äû’¬†a time as refugees in a local school hall’≈°√É‚Äû’¬†and’≈°√É‚Äû’¬†the overwhelming experience of a whole new liturgical and community’≈°√É‚Äû’¬†space in the new church complex).
These transitions have affected the way the community celebrates the Easter triduum.’≈°√É‚Äû’¬†
During 2003’≈°√É‚Äû’¬†and 2004 the stark hall allowed us to be creative and adaptive spatially – on’≈°√É‚Äû’¬†Holy’≈°√É‚Äû’¬†Thursday we’≈°√É‚Äû’¬†formed an intimate huddle, gathered to wash feet and hands and break bread.’≈°√É‚Äû’¬†On’≈°√É‚Äû’¬†Good Friday we sat cruciform – two aisles’≈°√É‚Äû’¬†creating the vertical and horizontal’≈°√É‚Äû’¬†- our treasured original cross from Buckle St placed centrally in our midst. This is a substantial’≈°√É‚Äû’¬†rimu crucifix, the figure of Jesus is’≈°√É‚Äû’¬†oak and Germanic in style. We used the sacred oil from the previous year and invited the community to anoint the crucifix in a natural way using a cloth to oil and wipe although many parishioners still kiss the cross.’≈°√É‚Äû’¬†
Then we shroud the body – this year our kuia used the formal Māori custom with fern fronds to send forth the spirit as they shrouded the tupapaku.’≈°√É‚Äû’¬†Later the cloths used in the veneration are’≈°√É‚Äû’¬†consumed in the fire for the Vigil of Saturday evening. We sat in choir for the vigil and enjoyed a visual depiction of the stories of salvation.
Celebrating the triduum for the first time in our new church last year was’≈°√É‚Äû’¬†significant’≈°√É‚Äû’¬†- we knew that we were really at home’≈°√É‚Äû’¬†- the new kitchen and gathering space allowed us to experience’≈°√É‚Äû’¬†a Seder [Jewish Passover] meal.’≈°√É‚Äû’¬†
This year was new again as we celebrated the liturgy of’≈°√É‚Äû’¬†baptism within the vigil – it created such a different emphasis in the’≈°√É‚Äû’¬†rhythm of’≈°√É‚Äû’¬†the liturgy. We’≈°√É‚Äû’¬†were able to see the whole’≈°√É‚Äû’¬†vigil as the great liturgy of initiation for the first time.’≈°√É‚Äû’¬†The Nation statutes for the catechumenate states ‘Baptism by immersion is the fuller and more expressive sign of the sacrament and therefore is preferred.’≈°√É‚Äû’¬† Although it is not yet a common practice, provision should be made for its more frequent use in the baptism of adults.’ [Rites of the Catholic Church as revised by the 2nd Vatican Council. P 344 note 17 1985]
‘≈°√É‚Äû’¬†Because of this’≈°√É‚Äû’¬†the new church was designed with a full immersion baptistry.’≈°√É‚Äû’¬†
‘≈°√É‚Äû’¬†The baptism was very beautiful – I’≈°√É‚Äû’¬†saw Romans in a new way, visually presented – as we blessed the font ‘Christ our Light”≈°√É‚Äû’¬†the paschal candle entered, died and was raised before our’≈°√É‚Äû’¬†candidate ‘≈°√É‚Äû’¬†Michelle Foo entered the font with her godparents. The alleluia that welcomed her up from the waters was so joyous – the childrens’ faces’≈°√É‚Äû’¬†astounded and amazed (an adult can get baptised and, look at all that really wet, dangerous water!)’≈°√É‚Äû’¬†We welcomed into full communion three long-time members of our community: Stephanie Turgoose, Bruce Allan and Nigel Prince. The chrism glistened’≈°√É‚Äû’¬†as they were anointed and we intoned the Veni Sancti Spiritus.’≈°√É‚Äû’¬†
We understood the power of’≈°√É‚Äû’¬†oneness and communio in a new way as they received the body and blood of Jesus Christ with us for the first time. Alleluia!’≈°√É‚Äû’¬† We concluded with a’≈°√É‚Äû’¬†grand party, and St Joseph’s’≈°√É‚Äû’¬†looks ‘≈°√É‚Äû’¬†forward to next year’s celebration with eagerness.