Christchurch Catholic cathedral shortlist names

Catholic cathedral

A name for Christchurch’s Catholic cathedral is likely to be decided and announced next month.

Further input from the diocese’s Catholic community is being sought to help choose between those still on offer after numerous suggestions were pared back.

The name search began last month when Christchurch’s Bishop Michael Gielen initiated a survey.

He invited Catholics in the diocese to suggest a patronal name for the soon-to-be-built cathedral. He asked them to share the reasons behind their choices.

Seven hundred people responded to the survey.

Gielen says dozens of saints and many other names in honour of God were proposed. Any one of them could fittingly adorn a new cathedral, he said.

“The reasons people offered for their nomination were powerful and compelling.”

Narrowing the choice was no easy task.

What’s in a name?

After prayer and discernment with a group of advisers representing laity, religious and priests, Gielen says a shortlist of seven names emerged:

What to do now

In a letter to Catholics in the Christchurch diocese, Gielen invited them to choose between the options.

Selecting a worthy patronal name for the new Catholic cathedral from the shortlist is something people should contemplate, Gielen wrote.

He suggested they review the candidates’ names and read their profiles (provided here via the links above) and consider the suggested reasons for each option.

Gielen has also provided a prayer people could pray before they consider the names, to welcome God into their deliberations:

Holy Spirit, inspire us as we discern a name for our new cathedral. Lead our Diocese to a patronal name that can encourage, challenge and comfort the people of God, and someone on whom we can rely for intercession. Amen.

Next steps

People need to send their responses to the address provided by July 7.

These will help Gielen and his advisers to narrow the list to three.

Gilen says he will then pray about those three names before making his choice.

He plans to announce the new Cathedral’s name by the end of July.

The big question now is what will people choose?

Will they go for a young 21st century saint – or will something more traditional win hearts?

The new cathedral will replace the magnificent renaissance-style Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament which was severely damaged in the Christchurch earthquakes. It was eventually demolished in 2020.



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