The Star of the Sea parish in Marlborough is looking at closing down two of its churches following Wellington Cardinal John Dew’s response to the parish’s restructuring proposal.
The move is part of the overall diocesan restructuring that Cardinal John Dew asked of the parishes in February last year.
In an update which appeared in the parish’s newsletter for the weekend of August 8–9, the parishioners were told that Cardinal Dew’s response included the sale of the Renwick and Havelock churches and land, while retaining Blenheim and Kaikoura’s churches and properties.
The church in Seddon will also be retained, but the adjacent land should be sold.
In Picton, the presbytery and its land can be sold if it is not needed for a multi–purpose centre. The cardinal also proposed the building of a multi-purpose centre on the school land “with a base for Catholic Social Services and other mission purposes, and with a worship space of a chapel rather than a church”.
Parish officials said the cardinal is also in favour of gifting or selling the Ward church land to the community trust. “However, more work needs to be done from a legal and financial perspective to enable this to be a reality, and this will be done as quickly as possible,” they said in the newsletter.
“We acknowledge that a sense of loss and anger for all of us at the thought of some of our Mass centres closing is inevitable, and we will endeavour to confirm the timeframes for these as soon as possible. Understanding how to best meet the future pastoral needs of these areas after the closure of the Mass centres will be an important step in the process,” they added.
The cardinal’s response is not a “final decision”, as it would be up to the parish to decide how to proceed with its plan.
The parish leaders said they will not be revisiting their original proposal, but would use Cardinal Dew’s response to their proposal to formulate a new plan.