WelCom May 2023
Fr David Gruschow, Parish Priest
Two of the oldest parishes in the archdiocese are amalgamating. Sacred Heart parish, founded 1874 and based in Reefton, and St Canice’s parish, founded 1867 and based in Westport, are to become the ‘Catholic Parish of Buller and Inangahua.’ The canonical process for amalgamation has been completed and now we look forward to the formal signing of the necessary decree by the archbishop.
The new parish structure will be an umbrella for five local faith communities. Holy Family church community is based in Karamea. St Canice’s church community, including St Canice’s School, is in Westport. Sacred Heart Church community, including Sacred Heart School, is based in Reefton. St Peter Chanel is in Murchison and St Patrick, on a southern boundary of the archdiocese, is in Ikamatua.
Each church community is largely rural in nature. Although Westport and Reefton are sizeable towns, they both have an extensive country hinterland where a number of parishioners live. Each church community is largely self sufficient in liturgical and pastoral terms, one happy result of historical realities where priests were not always readily available.
Pastoral care and liturgical leadership are usually provided from within each country community with me as the Pastor, visiting on a regular schedule.
Sr Lusiana Raratini dolc undertakes much of the pastoral care and some liturgical ministry in the Westport community and has a valuable outreach into the wider community, some of whom are still recovering from the devastating floods of nearly two years ago.
While conversations are ongoing about the details of amalgamating the two parishes, already we have a shared newsletter organised by parishioners and a new Mass schedule has been implemented. We look forward with the optimism of faith to new endeavours in our beautiful part of Aotearoa.