The new St Luke’s church in Flat Bush in east Auckland was filled to capacity and beyond as it was solemnly dedicated on May 1.
In his homily, Bishop Patrick Dunn recalled that the land upon which the new church stood had once been a farm, which Auckland diocese had bought 25 years ago.
“We bought the property initially because there had been a long-held dream to have a secondary school for Howick and Pakuranga, for this part of Auckland,” Bishop Dunn said.
“And so, eventually we settled on this plot, because we couldn’t get anything closer to Howick and Pakuranga, but actually what a blessed and inspired location it has turned out to be. The Holy Spirit was at work.”
Bishop Dunn summarised the history of St Luke’s parish and the two schools on the wider site, Sancta Maria College and Sancta Maria Catholic School (primary).
The name of the college and the name of the parish are connected, he said. Some nearby parishes are named after evangelists.
“Pakuranga is St Mark, and Otara is St John the Evangelist. That left Matthew and Luke. And then [people] said, look, the school is Sancta Maria, why don’t we chose Luke, because in Luke’s Gospel, Mary is featured?” Bishop Dunn thanked all those who had worked towards this day, when the $10.8million church was dedicated.
He paid special tribute to Fr Ezio Blasoni, SM, for his work in helping establish the St Luke’s community. The bishop also praised St Luke’s parish priest Fr Craig Dunford for his “great drive and determination and vision”, in bringing “together all these dreams that had been coalescing”.
Towards the end of his homily, Bishop Dunn asked the question — what is the Church?
He referenced St Paul writing to the Christians in Corinth that “God’s temple is holy, and you are that temple”.
“In the ceremony today, we are praying that this church will be a temple of God, but we are also praying that we will be temples of the Holy Spirit. The Church is made of living stones, and yet we know that every family needs a home, so buildings are very, very important. They are precious to us,” the bishop said.
Bishop Dunn prayed for “the living stones that make up the Church of God in this part of Auckland”, and “that this will be a sacred place in which all who worship here will receive power from on high to continue the mission that is the work of the Church”.