WelCom October 2023
The Catholic Enquiry Centre is the New Zealand Catholic bishops’ agency for evangelisation. The CEC has provided information and support to enquirers into Catholic faith for over 60 years. Rebecca Taylor-Hunt became its new director in January this year and reflects on her first few months into the job.
They say you should never redecorate your house within the first year of moving in. You have to figure out where the light hits before you can choose what colour to paint the walls. It’s a little like that when you begin a new job, especially when you find yourself at the helm of the deeply loved organisation within the Catholic community of Aotearoa New Zealand.
My first six months as the Director of the Catholic Enquiry Centre were spent absorbing the culture of working for the Church, and learning about the special role the CEC has nationally. I explored what evangelisation looks like today and thought deeply about who we are trying to reach.
We are speaking to people who are hesitating at the threshold of Catholicism and encouraging them to take the next step.
This time was important as it would impact how we go about our work, the presentation of our website, and our resources, for years to come. I met with a lot of people around the country who have been working in this field for years, garnering thoughts and opinions. I visited with our advisory committee, and I especially enjoyed a coffee with Fr Allen Jones who had been the CEC director for ten years. He had a wealth of wisdom to impart. I also attended Mass most days and prayed for guidance.
Changes were inevitable, and a few felt urgent. For example, a frustration when I started the role was how to juggle two names. Are we The Catholic Enquiry Centre or are we Catholic Discovery? Catholic Discovery had been set up as a digital identity for wider appeal online. However, people were quite vocal about their confusion regarding the two identities.
Hopefully, I have found a solution in our new logo and branding, which simply incorporates two already recognisable images into one. Catholic Discovery NZ remains the name of our website and our TikTok account, as they potentially have an international reach. However, the name of the organisation is very much The Catholic Enquiry Centre, as this name holds mana in New Zealand. This is also the name of our Facebook and Instagram accounts, so that people can see the work we do more clearly and know who to ask for support.
In the months ahead, I want to visit as many parishes around the country as possible to raise awareness of our work.
With the new logo, we have produced new posters, bookmarks and leaflets, utilising the theme of ‘Mā te Waharoa’, or ‘Through the Door’. Waharoa is the entranceway to a marae, so the space you enter beyond is sacred; this isn’t just any door. We are speaking to people who are hesitating at the threshold of Catholicism and encouraging them to take the next step. A new section of the website shares this purpose.
The most important aspects of the Catholic Enquiry Centre have not changed, nor should they. Among the many questions people have, I receive all sorts of enquiries from individuals across the land who want to join the Catholic Church, and a significant part of my role is helping them through the threshold and into Church. This is a privilege, an honour, and a joyous aspect of our ministry.
We still send out many boxsets of our legendary What Catholics Believe booklets. They remain popular and are a free resource to enquirers. If you would like a set, please contact us and we can send them to you. In the months ahead, I want to expand our reach on social media, continue to develop the website, and visit as many parishes around the country as possible to raise awareness of our work.
I remain slightly dazed that I landed this incredible job. I am grateful that all the random skills and pockets of experience I have accumulated over the years are finally being put to good use and that I can serve the Church in such a unique and interesting way.
To find out more about the Catholic Enquiry Centre, visit our website catholicdiscovery.nz or call us on (04) 385-8518. We are on Facebook and Instagram as Catholic Enquiry NZ, and on TikTok as Catholic Discovery NZ. Please – Like, Follow and Share!
Rebecca Taylor-Hunt, originally from the UK, has lived in New Zealand for 18 years. She now resides in Lower Hutt with her husband and their three teenage daughters.