HAMILTON — Many Hamilton diocese Catholics say they would like more
information before commenting on the plan to reduce the number of parishes.
As reported in NZ Catholic in April, Bishop Denis Browne published a letter, “Who is My Neighbour”, outlining the
strategic plan for the diocese.
When NZ Catholic approached Hamilton City parishioners, few said they could comment or form an educated opinion, as they had no information beyond the letter.
The only parish that seemed to have a proactive, inclusive and public approach to the letter was the pastoral area of St Mary of the Cross in Rotorua.
Parish Priest Fr Mark Field reproduced the bishop’s letter, and his own response to it on his parish’s website.
Fr Field acknowledged that parishioners might find the bishop’s words surprising, challenging or worrying but confirmed that of all people in the diocese, “. . . we are the most prepared for the changes that bishop announces to us. For the past six years our parishes here in Rotorua have been slowly but steadily moving to this point. . . .”
Rotorua once had two city parishes, but now has one coordinated Mass
timetable, and worshippers can choose the Mass that best suits them. It has one parish pastoral council, one finance committee, one office and presbytery.
It is exploring the merging of parish accounts.
“Many of us, especially weekday Mass goers, are comfortable moving
between churches,” Fr Field said. He said he expects little change in the way parish life operates day-to-day.