Chapel rises out of the ashes in the Bay of Plenty

St Theresa’s Chapel at Bethlehem has risen from the ashes of a fire which destroyed the old Catholic church two years ago.

A big community celebration took place on Sunday place when Bishop Steve Lowe opened the new $400,000 chapel.

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Sited next to Hangarau Marae, the chapel’s simple lines are based on a traditional Maori wharenui or meeting house.

Parish priest Father Mark Field said locals were delighted with the chapel.

The Church includes a feature window at the sanctuary end so the congregation could enjoy lovely views across the harbour and the donation of a contemporary Madonna and child.

Painted by Bonnie Casey the new painting is significant because the original painting of a Maori Madonna and child was destroyed in the 2014 fire.

Field said police never found the perpetrator of the fire.

Who ever it was removed the vestments and chalice from the church and left them on the grass outside, he told the NZ Herald.

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News category: New Zealand.

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