Catholic Cathedral cleanup complete after arson attack

Catholic Cathedral

Palmerston North’s Catholic Cathedral of the Holy Spirit reopened over the weekend after an arson attack in April closed it for several months.

The fire, lit inside the day chapel, caused minor damage and nobody was hurt.

“It was out within 15 minutes,” Father Joe Grayland said at the time. “The fire brigade inspector said it was minutes away from losing control.”

However, the short-lived fire coated much of the inside of the building with a thin layer of ash.

After months of hard work, the cleanup is complete and the Catholic cathedral reopened with an early Mass on Sunday.

That Mass began with a blessing – which continued at a second mass – just in time for the St James’ Catholic School 65th jubilee celebrations.

The giant cleanup

Every nook and cranny of the cathedral had to be cleaned, so scaffolding was required. They work started on the wooden ceiling and progressed downwards.

Parish manager Steph Grantham says the scaffolding has been removed and a final “big clean” was carried out on Thursday.

The pews and other items that had been removed for the mammoth cleaning task have been put back.

“Now you wouldn’t know if you didn’t know [about the fire]. Some items, big curtains and other things have been sent off for cleaning.”

The carpet was also cleaned.

While the biggest tasks have been completed, Grantham says many smaller things will take their place on the parish “to do” list.

The cost of the cleaning is covered by insurance.

A man has been arrested in relation to the incident and is facing arson charges.


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