A humming and active Cathedral – seven days a week

Cathedral door opening

A packed Sacred Heart Cathedral in Wellington reopened on Friday with Archbishop Paul Martin leading a Mass of Thanksgiving.

The Cathedral had been closed for six years for earthquake strengthening and extensive renovations and was a significant moment for the local church community.

The Mass also marked three days of celebrations.

Hope for the future

In his homily Martin said he had been asked about his vision for the cathedral’s future.

“People have asked me what my hope for the cathedral is, and this is it. That this place be where people come for prayer, reflection and nourishment of their spiritual lives” he stated.

He also emphasised the importance of community activities within the cathedral.

“I want it to be where the place is humming and active seven days of the week, with various activities tied to our faith and for helping people in their lives to be more fully the people God made them to be.”

Martin hopes the cathedral will be a centre of faith and community, and its reopening will mark a new chapter for the Wellington community.

Earthy and tangible faith

Another aspect Martin reflected on was the tangible nature of the Christian faith.

“One of the powerful realities of our religion is that we are an earthy religion. Our God came to this earth in matter. He walked on it. He engaged with us as creatures in an earthly body like our own” he said.

Martin said that Jesus experienced life on this earth and all that goes with it.

Emphasising the importance of beauty in the world, Martin said we express the reality of Jesus’ life in earthly ways, through signs and symbols, words and gestures, the clothes we wear, and physical and tangible images.

He said that beauty is also expressed in our buildings, in our architecture, how we decorate them.

cathedral reopening preparation of gifts

Elaborating on the importance of beauty, Martin said that beauty is also about the names we carry and those that we seek protection and care from.

“It’s why we are so blessed to have a cathedral that bears the name of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and also of Mary his mother, the perfect disciple, the one who helped Jesus to develop his own Heart of Love in this world.

“May this be a place where people are able to experience the fullness of God, to be freed from fear, forgiven their sins, experience the mercy and love of God, and find a community of faith for support in the Christian journey” he said.

Celebration and gratitude

Martin told the congregation that a cathedral has a very particular place in the life of the church community.

“I feel very blessed to be the Archbishop at this time as our cathedral reopens.

“That we can be back here in this cathedral after these years of absence is a cause of great celebration and gratitude” he said.

Martin expressed gratitude to all who helped with the reopening and for the attendance of Emeritus Archbishop, Cardinal John Dew, who concelebrated at the Mass.

Dew’s presence was met with hearty applause.

Fundraising goals

Acknowledging the considerable generosity of parishioners, the Government and Wellington City Council, Martin commented that the renovation project is not yet fully funded and that some aspects of the Cathedral still need to become fully operational.

“In terms of fundraising, we now have a target of $720,000 to be able to finish the project” Martin said.

The community looks forward to the necessary funds being raised to complete the renovations.


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