by KEVIN SHERLOCK
A new stained glass window of St Columba and St Peter Chanel was blessed at St Patrick’s Cathedral on Sunday November 1 — All Saints Day.
Fr Patrick Collins, a retired priest of Auckland diocese and sponsor of the new window, was in attendance when Msgr Bernard Kiely, Vicar General of the diocese, blessed the window during the 11am Mass.
The two windows, which were designed and made in Fr Patrick’s home town of Derry, depict two important missionary saints in the Catholic Church — Sts Columba and Chanel.
St Columba (521–597) was an Irish abbot and one of the great missionaries of our spiritual tradition.
Over the past 175 years, the Church in New Zealand has benefitted from many men and women coming from Ireland to minister within the diocese.
St Peter Chanel (1803–1841), a Marist priest, travelled across the Pacific with Bishop Pompallier in the 1830s and was martyred on the island of Futuna. The grapevine that grows in the cathedral garden is one grafted from a vine first planted in Futuna by Fr Chanel.
Msgr Bernard noted: “Fr Patrick wanted to acknowledge the missionary priests and religious who over the decades have come to New Zealand and given so much to the local Church. By choosing an Irish and a French saint, we recognise particularly those missionaries from Ireland and France who have been so much of the Catholic story
in Aotearoa New Zealand.”
The process of planning, designing, constructing and installing the new windows has been lengthy: Nov 2007 – Fr Patrick first approaches Msgr Bernard with his idea of sponsoring two new windows.
Jun 2010 – Cathedral glass conservator measures up the existing windows and provide templates to The Glassworks in Derry.
Apr 2013 – draft images received from The Glassworks.
Jul 2013 – initial discussions held with Auckland Council regarding approval process.
Jul 2014 – images received of finished windows.
Aug 2014 – Fr Patrick visits The Glassworks and approves the window design.
Sep 2014 – approval received from Auckland Council and Heritage NZ to proceed.
Oct 2014 – new windows received from Ireland.
Nov 2014 – design of protective glass panels and holding brackets completed.
Jan 2015 – new windows and protective panels installed.
Feb 2015 – old glass boxed and stored for use in repair work to other windows.
by KEVIN SHERLOCK