WelCom February 2023
Two former Army Chaplains, Fr Julian Wagg and Fr Brian Fennessy, celebrated Mass on on Sunday 13 November, with a small community. They dedicated a Board of Chaplains that records the ministry of 18 Catholic priests who served as Military Chaplains at Waiouru Military Camp over the past 70 years.
The first full-time Catholic Chaplain, Fr Tom Duffy, was appointed to Waiouru in 1952 during the time of Compulsory Military Training.
To accommodate the Catholic Community at Waiouru Military Camp, St Patrick’s Chapel, an attached community centre and the priest’s accommodation, were subsequently built inside the camp.
Later, as the community grew, a second chapel, the Chapel of St John Bosco, was built within the residential area. This chapel was closed during the early 1980s and was moved adjacent to St Patrick’s to become the chaplains’ centre.
St Patrick’s Chapel was closed during March 2007 and the last Catholic Military Chaplain left Waiouru in 2008. The St Patrick’s complex was demolished last year.
Local clergy now offer Mass in the Garrison Church when available.
In the past 20 years, Waiouru Camp has reduced in size as many units have moved to Linton Military Camp, located just south of Palmerston North.
Recruit Training and the Officer Cadet School are the focus of the camp today.
Source: Fr Brian Fennessy, a former Army Chaplain based at Waiouru for four years from 2002 to 2005 is currently parish priest of the Selwyn Parish, Lincoln.