A mass of room for mass and the masses

Central Leader - - News - By Heather McCracken

Worshippers will no longer be spilling on to the foot­path at Christ the King church.

The Mt Roskill parish has moved to a big­ger church on Richardson Rd, where the first mass was held on Fri­day last week.

Mon­signor Ray Green says the new build­ing com­fort­ably holds 800 peo­ple, dou­ble the ca­pac­ity of the old church.

“We’re looking to the fu­ture, that’s why it’s been de­signed for those big­ger num­bers,” he says.

“At Easter and Christ­mas peo­ple were stand­ing out on the road. Now we can get them all in.”

Mon­signor Green says the new build­ing pro­vides meet­ing space and offices un­der one roof for the first time.

“We’ve got a big foyer where peo­ple can gather and have a cup of tea af­ter mass,” he says.

“That’s my pride and joy, that foyer.”

The old church site will be taken by the new Christ the King school, now un­der construction.

The school is be­ing shifted fur­ther away from the planned mo­tor­way to give stu­dents greater pro­tec­tion from noise and pol­lu­tion.

That shift meant re­build­ing the church a short dis­tance away along Richardson Rd.

The New Zealand Trans­port Agency is spending about $15 mil­lion to move both church and school, while the parish added $500,000 to en­sure a big­ger fa­cil­ity.

Some of the trea­sures of the old church have been pre­served, in­clud­ing the cross, taber­na­cle, stat­ues and sta­tions of the cross.

The old al­tar, lectern and chairs will be do­nated to a church in Tonga.

When the parish was first es­tab­lished priests held mass in nearby Owairaka School, Mon­signor Green says.

The first church built on the Richardson Rd site burned down in the 1950s, and ser­vices were held in the hall un­til an­other church was built in the late 60s.

That build­ing will soon be knocked down to make way for construction of the school.

Parish­ioner Beth O’Neill says she hopes to col­lect a few bricks as a keep­sake.

“We loved that old church, re­ally loved it,” she says.

“We’ve had wed­dings, funer­als and bap­tisms there.”

But she says the new build­ing is beau­ti­ful and meets all the needs of the parish.

The new church will be of­fi­cially blessed at a ser­vice on Sun­day at 2pm.

Photo: JA­SON OX­EN­HAM

New be­gin­nings: Mon­signor Ray Green in the new Christ the King Church, which will be blessed at a spe­cial ser­vice on Sun­day.

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