On Anzac weekend, 2021, St Patrick’s church, Waipawa, will host celebrations to commemorate 150 years since the first church was dedicated.
St Patrick’s has been a focal point for many families in its long history, and the parish is inviting those families and their descendants, as well as past pupils, teachers, and religious of St Columba’s School, back for this special celebration.
There have been three churches on the site over the 150 years. Father Reignier, who, from 1851-1871, periodically trekked from his Meanee Mission station to minister to settlers and Maori in the Waipawa District, instigated the building of the first church, which was dedicated by Bishop Viard on April 16, 1871.
A growing congregation led to a larger church being built around 1890, with the original church being moved to the back of the property, and being used as a schoolroom. This second church was destroyed by fire during the night of March 30, 1920. People of all denominations throughout the district rallied to raise funds to build the present church, designed to look like St Mary of the Angels church in Wellington, and which was opened – debt free – in 1921.
This, the current St Patrick’s church, withstood the 1931 earthquake, and stands today as a testimony to the faith of those earlier hardworking generations
At the jubilee celebrations, the Friday evening – April 23 – will be the first chance for many to reunite, with a “meet and greet”, and a “book launch”, planned at the historic Waipawa Municipal Theatre.
Saturday’s itinerary includes morning tea and a cemetery tour, and dinner. A special Mass will be celebrated at St Patrick’s at 4.30pm, by Cardinal John Dew, with Fr Paul Kerridge and other visiting priests concelebrating.
The organisers of this milestone event are gathering history, information and stories for an anniversary book, and wish to contact as many interested families and individuals as possible.