A WORD FROM OUR PARISH PRIEST
It would be ideal to write this chapter with a short resume of those members of this parish who have taken religious vows, or been ordained to the priesthood. But sadly that is not possible.
The pride of every parish is its past parishioners who have received and answered the call from God to serve people in this special ministry of religious life or diocesan priesthood.
Has God passed us over here in Glen Eden? Have we been lacking in our approach to the young members of our parish in promoting vocations?
This jubilee is the ideal time to examine this area of our parish life. We do not have to look back and see if, or where we went wrong. But we must look to the next fifty years and take definite positive steps toward providing shepherds for the church both here, in New Zealand and overseas.
Our parish is fifty years young this year making 2008 an opportune time to put things in place to redress this dearth of young people offering them-self as religious Sisters, Brothers or priests. Let us put in place some definite actions as part of our celebrations – providing opportunities for our young people to have these vocations very much in their minds while they are discerning their future.
There are a number of positive things in place this year which should help with discernment.
Firstly, twenty-eight of our young parishioners have taken part actively in the World Youth Day. What an opportunity this has been! To travel together with close on 4000 other New Zealander’s to meet up with Catholics of so many different backgrounds and cultures: to sit at the feet of qualified catechists and learn of the Holy Spirit’s place in their lives.
Surely this is the chance for the grace of the Holy Spirit to find fertile ground for thought and commitment. And what a great sense of solidarity they have all felt – that the one faith is believed and practiced in all these different countries. That religious and priestly vocations are very much part of the church’s life.
And nothing can match their being in the presence of the Holy Father, Benedict XVI, a father to us all. His words of encouragement must surely awaken us to the need of providing workers in our church who will continue providing the sacramental life for people.
The spirit of the World Youth Day Pilgrimage must burn brightly for the years to come, continuing to en flame our youth with a desire to give themselves for others.
This year also sees the increased involvement of the youth in the liturgy of our parish. All new readers at the Sunday masses will now be twenty-one years of age and under. This lets the youth know that they are valued and needed in the parish. Their added input giving the introduction and welcome at our masses – along with gospel re-enactments – brings a renewed vitality to us all.
Secondly, our jubilee grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes is becoming popular as a shrine for devotion to Mary. The masses, and rosary and prayers on the hour, every first Saturday of the mouth are offered for vocations. Our patron, Mary, will surely hear our prayers and provide our youngsters with food for thought.
Our jubilee is not just a celebration of mixing and meeting old friends. We hope there will be lasting good effects that come from it in the way of vocations. The parish retreat conducted by Bishop Leonard Boyle has renewed us spiritually and the presence of the three bishops is a tangible reminder of the place the sacrament of Orders has in the life of the parish.
And the Jubilee Foundation that will continually provide fees for a student from this parish to attend Good Shepherd College will be an extra incentive to students selecting religious studies with a view to participate in the life of the church as priests, religious or lay people.
AND YOU THINK YOU’VE GOT IT TOUGH!
All credit to our foundation parishioners who showed true mettle over fifty years ago when a church had yet to be built in Glen Eden and the nearest services where held at St Mary’s Church in Avondale.
People like Jack and Pat Devereux who moved to live in Kaurilands Rd in May 1955. They, like many others, got themselves organised early on a Sunday to walk the mile or so to te Glen Eden township where a bus vapid be caught to Avondale. Public transport was unreliable and it was not uncommon for those making the journey to arrive some ten minutes after Mass had started. Turning up late often meant being forced to stand outside the little Avondale church – later used a hall when a bigger version was built – huddled a porch while straining to hear the services within. Rainy days were worse and occasionally an unfortunate parishioner would fall in the mud surrounded the front entrance.
“We only saw the inside of the church as we went to receive communion”, the Devereux’s say. Then it was off to catch the bus again followed by another mile walk home”.
Frustrated parishioners petitioned Archbishop James Michael Liston for action and arrangements were made for services to be held in the Glen Eden Town Hall and cinema which was later converted for use as a live theater venue. The situation wasn’t perfect and many people had to stand on sloping floors designed for seated movie buffs. But few complained. “We were absolutely delighted”, says Pat Wojcik and her husband stun – foundation parishioners who’d grown wary of the long and arduous weekly trip to Avondale. “It was just a short walk away from home”. Finally, early I 1958, Glen Eden was declared a parish in its own right – taking in the surrounding suburbs of Kellston, Oratia and the west coast beaches. All it needed was a church, a presbytery, a whole lot of enthusiasm and priest.
OUR FOUNDING FATHER
No Time to Spare
Last Stop Down Under
A Place To Call Home
Clearing the Debt
Fr Meuli returned west some three years later to base himself at Mt St Marys in Titirangi. The little church there at Rangiwai Rd was originally an RSA building that was bought by Fr James McGrath and renovated as part of the Avondalel Parish in 1959. It became a wing of the Glen Eden parish in 1971 and a size-able community attended weekly services but numbers dropped away when Sunday Masses were centralised to Our Lady of Lourdes in 1988 and Mt St Marys was no longer fully utilised.
Fr Meuli was looking for a place to celebrate Latin Mass and Bishop Denis Brown suggested he use the Titirangi church. He agreed and still heads a congregation of people who travel from all over the greater region to worship in the pre- Vatican II manner.
A Man of The People
A Time for Change
Luck of the Irish
A New Millennium
The Bigger Picture
She was Kiri te Kanawa, and then aged around eighteen, and no one could have guessed that she would one day be an international famous opera star. Other celebrities who have performing there include well known guitarist and one time Henderson resident Peter Posa. The crypt was also the venue of numerous table tennis competitions and indoor bowls tournaments. Its use became more tightly regulated when Msgr Price was parish priest – by necessity rather than choice. Msgr Price recalls the night a gang of hoodlums hijacked a dance at the venue, hurling beer bottles through the glass windows from the courtyard outside. Security became a prerequisite for any event booked in the crypt thereafter. Numerous parishioners have also celebrated various family milestones there with members of the wider congregation and today the crypt is very much in demand.