1 year on: 3 parishes celebrate their merger


A special mass to mark the first anniversary of the merger of three Catholic parishes in New Plymouth was held on Sunday.

In September 2015, the parishes of St Joseph’s, St Philomena’s and Our Lady Help of Christians became one, known as the Catholic Parish of New Plymouth.

Held at the TSB Stadium, the mass attracted hundreds of parishioners from New Plymouth, Bell Block and Okato.

Father Simon Story who presided at the Mass said it was the largest Mass he had been involved in during his time in Taranaki.

He said a decade ago, parishes had a presence of mainly European people, but about one third of churchgoers now were either Filipino or Indian, a change which represented a “big shift” across the region.

“That’s a blessing and a gift to the faith community,” Story said.

But despite this, the numbers of people affiliated to the Catholic faith across New Zealand was fairly stagnant.


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