St Gerard’s Church altar given to Sacred Heart Cathedral

St Gerard's Church

The altar from St Gerard’s Church in Wellington has found a new home at the city’s Catholic Sacred Heart Cathedral.

St Gerard’s – a distinctive, category one, heritage-listed church and monastery building – was sold for almost $17 million to a secret buyer earlier this year.

Since the sale, St Gerard’s former owner, the Institute for World Evangelisation (ICPE Mission), has been finding new homes for furniture and other items.

The ICPE has been particularly careful in re-homing sacred items, many of which have historical value to the Catholic Archdiocese of Wellington.

After talks with the Archdiocese, ICPE is donating the altar from the main church to the Metropolitan Cathedral of the Sacred Heart.

At present the cathedral is closed for renovation and earthquake-strengthening.

Catholic Archbishop of Wellington Paul Martin SM is delighted with the donation.

“I am personally excited that a cherished part of St Gerard’s history – and of the Catholic history of Wellington – will live on within our Cathedral, which is home to all the people of God in the Archdiocese,” he says.

St Gerard’s Church (built 1908) and Monastery (built 1932) were originally owned by the Redemptorists.

The Catholic religious congregation of priests and brothers sold the property to the ICPE Mission in 1993.

The Mission, which is an international Catholic lay missionary organisation, sold St Gerard’s because it could not raise the money needed for strengthening the buildings.

Since the sale in March, the ICPE community has been packing up the monastery’s chattels.

Furniture is being donated to community organisations which could make good use of them. They include Kahungungu Whānau Services, St Vincent de Paul, Catholic Social Services and the Salvation Army.

Wellington Archdiocese Pastoral Ministry Advisor, Lucienne Hensel, who raised her family in St Gerard’s Monastery as part of the ICPE Community, has been working with local organisations to re-home the items.

“It was great to see many of the household items moving on to worthwhile causes,” she says.

Moving the altar

Plans are being made at present to move the altar from St Gerard’s to the cathedral site as part of the Cathedral’s restoration project.

The Cathedral parish is fundraising for the restoration project which began after Sacred Heart was closed in July 2018 after an earthquake assessment deemed it a significant risk to occupants.


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