Erstwhile seminary destroyed by fire

holy name seminary

Antonio Hall in Christchurch has been destroyed by fire. For three decades it housed Holy Name Seminary. 

More than 50 firefighters spent hours trying to save the building on Riccarton Rd after a “significant” fire erupted about 5.20pm on Friday.

Catholic Diocese of Christchurch bishop’s pastoral office director Mike Stopforth said the diocese used the building as the national seminary for priests.

Stoppforth told Stuff “the chapel was the most significant part of the hall for the diocese and had significant stained glass windows.”

He described the loss as “sad”,

Holy Name Seminary was opened in 1947 and closed at the end of 1978.

The seminary was in effect a boys’ secondary school for the training of those boys who wished to become priests in later life.

Holy Cross College, the major seminary, became overcrowded in the 50s and it was necessary from 1954 to house the philosophy students elsewhere.

They were sent to Holy Name Seminary, and year by year the school studies diminished and were replaced by philosophy.

During the 1970s the decrease in student numbers raised the question of amalgamating Holy Name Seminary and Holy Cross College.

Holy Name Seminary closed at the end of the 1978 academic year.

The Church continued to run the property as a private hostel for university students. It was known as Campion Hall until 1980.

It was then sold to the Luisetti family. They managed the property as a boarding house and reception venue.

Antonio Hall was bought by Wellstar Co Limited in 1993. Its slow decline into a decrepit condition started then.

Wellstar reportedly had plans to turn the site into motels but nothing came of them.

It remained unoccupied and earthquakes only accelerated damage caused by years of neglect.

A 14-year-old boy has been charged with arson.

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News category: New Zealand.

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