A mass of room for mass and the masses
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.
New beginnings: Monsignor Ray Green in the new Christ the King Church, which will be blessed at a special service on Sunday.