Carterton parish house trucked south

Carterton parish house

Wairarapa parishioners in Carterton were disappointed to see their parish house hauled away last week.

Former parish council member Asrina Hutchinson​ told Stuff it was sad to see the building go after it played such an important role in the community over the years.

“It was a very happy place and very much a parish community place,” she said.

“It’s sad because we had three or four generations of our family who have been part of that Catholic community.”

In 2018 the Church next to the parish house was deemed an earthquake risk. The land and buildings were sold to developers earlier this year.

The Wairarapa parish has recently suffered several reversals; the Archdiocese closed the Carterton, Greytown and Martinborough churches – three of the parish’s five faith communities.

The Wairarapa Times-Age reported several reasons for selling the three Wairarapa churches.

These include there being not enough priests to go around, high maintenance costs, declining congregations, and the directive from Pope Francis to focus more on missionary work.

In May, Wairarapa parishioner Gerard McGreevy told the Wairarapa Times-Age that closing church communities is not a way to support people.

McGreevy is the organiser of a Sunday morning alternative prayer service in Greytown.

Subsequently, others have asked how genuine Synodality really looks in the Church and are questioning whether Church administrators are leaving space for the Holy Spirit in the Synodal process.

“I thought Synodality was about listening together rather than church administrators at all levels of church management,  having the Holy Spirit’s personal direct dial number,” a Wairarapa parishioner told CathNews.

Listening is an important attitude for Cardinal John Dew, who spoke recently to the national hui on synodality held in Wellington.

“Synodality calls us to listen to all the People of God, even if we think the ideas are whacky, or heretical or far-fetched.

“It is only in prayerful listening that we hear others and begin a dialogue . . . with the Spirit leading us,” he said.

Then, on November 24, updating the archdiocese on the Synod process, Dew wrote thanking people for their participation in the Synodal process, saying, “I want you to know that your voices have been heard.”

“Many communities have understood Synodality as an invitation to listen to those who feel unwelcome in our Church communities, and they are asking us to be a Church for the wounded and the broken, not an institution for the perfect.

“Many have emphasised that this was the first time the Church had asked for their opinion, and they wish to continue this journey.

“The message of the Synod is simple: we are learning to walk together and to sit with one another to break the one Bread so that everyone can find their place,” he wrote.

Meanwhile, the new owner of the Carterton parish house, Matt Calder, described the outside of the former parish house as “absolutely gorgeous” with “a huge amount of stature”.

He says that when he’s finished restoring it, the restored building will have four bedrooms, three bathrooms, and two living areas.

“When I’m finished with it, it should have another 110 years in it,” Calder told Stuff.

He expects the restoration to be completed by March 2023.


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