On Sunday June 9th, Pentecost Sunday, Bishop Paul Martin SM wrote a pastoral letter to all Catholics in the Diocese. You can find a copy of the letter and his video message on the Diocesan website www.chchcatholic.nz
In the letter, Bishop Paul outlines his vision for the whole diocese and proposes a change to the structures of parish life to better proclaim the good news of Jesus Christ to the whole world. As the Bishop notes in his letter, the diocese is in a unique position due to the earthquakes. They have brought with them many challenges, but they have also given us the opportunity to rethink our buildings and structures to better serve our core mission.
In summary, the Bishop is proposing to create five new parishes in Christchurch City amalgamated from the existing 12 parishes. He is also looking at combining the parishes of Selwyn into one parish and is considering options for North Canterbury.
One practical issue that immediately comes to mind is that these proposed changes will result in some of our Catholic primary schools being at a distance from the proposed parish church. In the plan for places that will no longer have a parish church located alongside the school, the Bishop is committed to building a chapel with the Blessed Sacrament reserved for prayer and class Masses and sacramental celebrations.
The Bishop reiterates that this is a proposal and he wants to receive feedback. There is supporting material on the diocesan website www.chchcatholic.nz. An electronic feedback form will be available on the website from Sunday 23rd June (online feedback is encouraged for ease of collation). Hard copies will be available from the school office from the following Monday. The Bishop invites each person to think and pray about the proposal for two weeks and then contribute feedback.
Feedback closes on Friday 30th August 2019 and the Bishop will respond on the 1st Sunday of Advent, December 1st 2019.
For more information view the Diocesan website www.chchcatholic.nz