Concern expressed over proposed developments in Christchurch


About Sixty people from throughout the diocese of Christchurch met at Sacred Heart Hall Addington on Sunday 11 August, to discuss their hopes for the future of the diocese.

They were responding to two announcements made recently by the bishop Christchurch Paul Martin.

On 9 June he announced a proposal to close 13 churches in the diocese

On 4 August the bishop revealed that the Basilica of the Sacred Heart, the cathedral church of the diocese, damaged in the Christchurch earthquake, would not be restored.

With the help of facilitators, the participants followed a process that involving prayer, personal reflection and sharing what they hoped the discussion would achieve.

They collated issues raised under the following headings: Schools, Finance, Sacred Heritage, Consultation, Good Process, Emotional and Spiritual Wellbeing, Laity, Alternatives, Good Plan.

Those attending were then asked to select a group to discuss one of these topics.

A summary report of the meeting highlighted the following issues:

Proposed closure of churches
1. Closure of churches will weaken the interface between schools and the Catholic Community. There are 10 Catholic primary schools next to churches marked of closure.

“Our primary school children, our young families (who often re-engage via our schools), their grandparents, others and our older religious – those 65 years and older who have time for prayer and to help pastoral.

2.  First-generation migrants and tertiary students are communities most adversely affected by the 9 June proposal because the two big student churches, St Teresa’s and Christ The King, are among those that are to proposed for closure.

3. Those least affected by the proposal are the most mobile groups:

  • Secondary school students. Three of the primary five proposed hubs are near the five Catholic Secondary schools
  • Those with no children or dependents
  • Those who can easily afford and sare able to drive long distances to Mass.

The decision to build a new cathedral

Most who addressed this topic wanted the Basilica to be recognised as the place of pilgrimage.

They wanted the ruins made accessible and safe so they can be a place where people can walk, pray, celebrate Mass, sing and remember.

Cathy Harrison and Trish O’Donnell facilitated the meeting.

A second gathering will take place on Sunday 25 August 3.00 – 5.00pm at St Peters Hall, 11 Fisher Ave Beckenham.

For further information about the proposed changes click here


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News category: New Zealand, Top Story.

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