by MICHAEL OTTO
Auckland Catholic diocese is moving to accommodate pastoral needs associated with the rapid growth of the region.
At a bishop’s forum at St Mark’s Church in Pakuranga on July 28, Bishop Patrick Dunn said the diocese has bought land in Riverhead, to the north of Auckland, for future parish and school development.
The bishop signalled that a new Catholic school — Holy Trinity Catholic Primary School — will open in Airfield Rd in Takanini in 2017.
Bishop Dunn said funding for this school was in the Government’s 2015-16 Budget.
NZ Catholic understands a blessing for the land for this school is planned for later this year.
An establishment committee has been formed and a governance facilitator appointed, and these have started their work.
At the forum, Bishop Dunn also said: “We are still hoping for a Catholic secondary school in Drury — St Ignatius of Loyola Catholic College.”
The bishop added that the modern Monte Cecilia Primary School in Hillsborough is opening on its new site in February next year.
Bishop Dunn noted that the home for retired priests, John Vianney House in Ponsonby, is full and “we are hoping to expand it later this year”.
At the forum, an update was given of the implementation of the Auckland diocese pastoral plan “Fit for Mission”.
Parishes are being challenged to develop outreach projects, and several were described at the forum, including having a Christian float in a local Christmas parade and partnering with a low decile local school.
Bishop Dunn gave an overview of last year’s extraordinary synod on the family and the upcoming synod in October. He also spoke about the background of Pope Francis, drawing on Austen Ivereigh’s book The Great Reformer.
Bishop Dunn made particular mention of the Pope’s devotion to “Our Lady: Undoer of Knots” and how this devotion grew in Argentina.
Given that the Church is now having a Year for Consecrated Life, testimonies were given at the forum by
two religious, Fr Emile Frische, MHM, and Sr Cathryn Wiles-Pickard, RSM, about their vocational journeys.
Similar bishop’s forum events were held in Glen Eden, Kaikohe, Manurewa, Glenfield and Owairaka.