Preferred option for Chch cathedral


Christchurch Bishop Michael Gielen has announced a preferred site for a Cathedral Precinct on the diocese’s Barbadoes Street site, and is seeking feedback through a three-month engagement process before he makes the final decision.

He has invited people to pray about new cathedral location before consultation officially opens.

In a pastoral letter delivered in churches in December, Bishop Gielen stated that the world has changed since the 2019 decision to build a cathedral in Armagh Street. One of the changes noted is a rise in the cost of living.

Three potential sites have been identified for the new cathedral, the letter stated. These are the site at Barbadoes Street, the land at Armagh Street and Manchester Street (with the renovation of St Mary’s Pro-Cathedral).

“Each site has been approached considering its historical and spiritual significance, the capacity for the site to accommodate supporting facilities: a community and cultural centre, a priests’ residence, diocesan and parish offices, an adoration chapel, and possibly a school or schools. We also considered potential for future growth, accessibility and parking, and ultimately the financial viability of each site, remembering our wider financial commitments to all parishes in the diocese and the important responsibility to support those who have suffered while in Church care.”

The clear recommendation is that “we return to our humble and historical roots and locate our cathedral on Barbadoes Street”.

People were invited to spend a week of prayer, placing the intention of the cathedral location before God. This was to be followed by a three-month period of dialogue and discernment. A survey would be made available shortly before Christmas. The survey would be open until the end of March and would be one of the factors in the bishop’s final decision. There would also be parish group feedback sessions, as well other feedback and information given to the bishop from various groups.



Posted in

NZ Catholic Staff

Reader Interactions


  1. Mr Jack O'Dea. says

    After dwelling on the issue in a balanced way l believe that the site that will attract most appeal from the young and middle aged people/families, is the Armagh St. Area. A mid sized church or small cathedral in in this area would give catholic people, of all levels of our faith something to be proud of.
    The result would lead to a significantly greater number of practicing Catholics. Bucking the trend.
    I understand the cost factor issue, but for the long term, the church will benefit hugely.

  2. Cecile Murphy says

    I endorse the decision to remain on the cathedral site. There is more to a building than the physical. There are the memories surrounding the site. The catholic fraternity’s that raised the funds for the original building. The schools and people who paraded carrying their dioceses banners around the cathedral to mark the visit by the popes representative in the 1950s.
    The prayer and the various presentations to the people by of Christchurch by the choirs. The organ recitals. Thee graduation ceremony of students from Christchurch Polytechnic. The cathedral itself was recognised as a significant building around the world and deserves the community to validate that. It is a shame to the city of Christchurch that no effort was made to find the repair or replacement a building of much more significance than the cathedral square cathedral
    Cecile Murphy

  3. Maurice Needham says

    I believe that the options open for the new cathedral should be weighed up against the gains that could be made,Longterm my thoughts are as follows,
    1. The existing Pro Cathedral St.Marys, it has served suitable for use since earthquake,but too small for larger gatherings,plus the huge drawback is the lack of parking areas.
    2.The Barbadoes Street site is an alternative,but personally it does not lend itself to a new grand structure,the area has outgrown its popularity since the early days of the old Cathedral masterpiece,sitting on a one way traffic approach is again inconvenient,and also has the lack of suitable parking areas.
    3.I am a supporter of the city site as a new Cathedral would blend with the beauty around it.The site would draw much attention,especially with all that happens in the area,Town Hall,Convention Centre,Piano Room,entertainment area,plus a beautiful tourist draw card,plus the advantage of a parking building which would be a money spinner.I am aware of the massive costs involved and opposition from groups,but futuristic it offers greater outside investment assisting development would be a possible resource.

  4. Adrienne Puskas says

    I am a non catholic but spent much time with my friends who are in the cathedral plus learned piano from the Sacret Heart sisters when young – I would love to see your new cathedral rebuild on the Barbdoes site which has historical and emotional history

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