New lay ministry centre blessed and opened

lay ministry centre - whanau maria

The Bishop of Auckland Steve Lowe blessed a new lay ministry centre, Whanau Maria, during a ceremony on Sunday 17 September.

Society of Mary Provincial Fr Tim Duckworth then opened the Centre.

The ceremony was attended by friends, family, students, alumni from various Catholic secondary schools, and local church communities.

Whanau Maria will serve as the new home for Logos, a Marist youth development project with a 24-year history in the Diocese of Auckland.

The centre will also house other Marist Laity projects.

On Friday, Duckworth announced Mrs Hannah van Schie as the new Director of Marist Laity.

“Everyone in the Church is called to minister to others and take the Gospel into the world.

“The Society of Mary’s hope is that Whanau Maria will be a creative place where people can learn to do that in a community of people like them,” Duckworth told CathNews.

As people gathered for the opening, the Marist College Kapa Haka group set a festive atmosphere with their songs.

There were other musical performances, a liturgical dance, further songs by the Kapa Haka group, and people of different ages shared personal stories about how Logos had affected their lives.

Cedric Charles, the special character prefect at St Peter’s College, said his encounters with Logos have helped him to connect his daily life with “theology”.

“This year’s special character retreat assisted me in my role as the special character prefect”, he said.

After the formal proceedings, attendees explored the facility’s various amenities, including offices, youth spaces, a family room, a dining area, a commercial kitchen, a chapel, laundry, bathrooms and a main meeting hall.

Owned by the Society of Mary, Whanau Maria is situated on Ponsonby Road on the former site of Good Shepherd College, New Zealand’s former Catholic Theological College.

Bishop Lowe blessed a mural located in the car park, a gift from local artist Haser.

Good Shepherd College was a joint venture between the New Zealand Catholic Bishops Conference and the Society of Mary. Its primary purpose was to teach theology to seminarians.

When it was proposed to merge all the Catholic Tertiary providers into a Catholic leadership institute, Te Kupenga, the Society of Mary decided the focus of the new body was beyond its scope of responsibility.

In 2020, it acquired the remaining share of the Ponsonby Road property, repurposing it for lay ministry.

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News category: New Zealand.

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