by NZ CATHOLIC staff
NEW PLYMOUTH — Plans are being made to merge three New Plymouth parishes: St Joseph’s in the city, St Philomena’s at Brooklands and Fitzroy’s Our Lady Help of Christians.
About 200 people turned out last month to hear presentations explaining the move and organising consultation with the community about the proposed changes. The group is
made up of representatives from each of the three parishes.
Fr Craig Butler, one of six people on the steering committee, said the changes were the idea of Bishop Charles Drennan and intended to strengthen faith in the city as well as make the best use of resources.
As regional dean, Fr Butler will focus on supporting other priests and Catholic schools in
the area, and facilitating the pastoral care of St Philomena’s parishioners after their church
was destroyed by fire in January.
To do this, he will step aside as parish priest at St Joseph’s New Plymouth and will be replaced by Fr Adonis Rancho.
Fr Butler said the final plan is due to be in place by Easter next year.