by JOHN SHAW
The Auckland parish of St Michael’s, Remuera, is to publish a guidebook as one of the ways the 90th anniversary of its parish church is to be celebrated next year.
On its superb position on the Remuera ridge the imposing basilica of St Michael is one of only two Romanesque Revival churches in New Zealand. The book provides a description of this ancient and distinctive architectural style and an account of the church’s construction during the Great Depression of the 1930s. There is also a close study of the church’s contents and features of liturgical significance and of the many examples of religious art and of their provenance, with stories of the artists who created them.
The publication is presented as a visitor guide but will be of greatest value and interest to those who regularly attend Mass at St Michael’s. Publication of the book is seen by the parish’s pastoral council as a tribute to the generations who built the church and who have since preserved and enhanced it. It is hoped that the book will stimulate among all who visit it an increased appreciation of the church and its liturgy and a renewed sense of the transcendent.
The genesis of the book was a parishioner’s Covid lockdown idea to produce a catalogue of the church’s contents. When the idea was adopted as a parish project more research expanded the original list into a 30-page book of nearly 5000 words. The book has been completed with professional design and editing and over 60 full-colour images specially taken by a leading Auckland photographer.
The parish expects most orders will come from current St Michael’s Massgoers. Even so, interest is being shown by former parishioners and members of the wider Remuera community. The council does not see the book as a profit-maker but does hope to secure sufficient orders to reach breakeven. Orders for the book are now open at $20 a copy. There will be a limited print run with the book becoming available in early December 2022.
Orders can be placed on the parish website: www.remueracatholic.org.nz/guide-book