by GLEN McCULLOUGH
The new Our Lady of Kāpiti church and parish centre was blessed by Cardinal John Dew on the morning of Saturday, May 30.
It marked the end of one journey and the beginning of another. The journey began in 2014 with the merging of two parishes — St Patrick’s, Paraparaumu and Our Lady of Fatima, Waikanae — when one of the parish priests retired, to form Our Lady of Kāpiti Parish, named after the statue of Our Lady on the hill overlooking Kāpiti.
Both churches were earthquake risks, and the decision was taken to build a new church and school on a central site. A large piece of land previously used as a golf practice range in the middle of the parish was purchased, and a new school was built on the site in conjunction with the Education Department.
The school hall became the Mass Centre for Paraparaumu when the old church and school complex was sold to a local Pentecostal church. When the third architect we used came up with a design that met our needs, building work on the new church and parish centre began in 2019. The funds to build came from parishioners, with part of the shortfall coming from the demolition and subdivision of the Waikanae property.
We are grateful to all involved — especially the builder, L.T. Macguiness and landscaper, Goodmans, for finishing within budget and (allowing for Covid) on time, and to the multitude of parishioners who have contributed.
The worship space is designed to seat 500, with plenty of overflow available in the greeting space. There is a 50-seat chapel looking towards the statue of Our Lady on the hill. The parish centre includes the parish offices, confessional, meeting rooms, and a commercial kitchen. The worship space is magnificent — open, light-filled with low windows on two sides. The sanctuary floor is a work of art in itself, and the altar has been specially made from pews out of the Waikanae and Paraparumu churches.
The large meeting room and chapel are lined with timber from Waikanae, and the stations of the cross and tabernacle in the chapel are from Waikanae as well.
Everywhere one looks in the building, there is some part of the churches that went before — Our Lady of Lourdes, Paekakariki, St Patrick’s, Paraparaumu, and Our Lady of Fatima, Waikanae.
The next stage journey is to complete the funding, and to move forward under the leadership of our great parish priest, Fr Michael McCabe, with one central Mass centre. I look forward to it with confidence.