Will it stay or will it go?

The New Zealand Catholic bishops are currently considering three options for Holy Cross Seminary on Vermont St, Ponsonby, which was found to have leaky building issues a few years ago.

At the recent NZBCBC meeting in Auckland, the bishops discussed three options that were presented to them by a working group.

NZCBC president Bishop Patrick Dunn said these options were: to relocate and rebuild, repair the leaky building at Vermont St, or demolish and rebuild at Vermont St.

“The option to remediate the building at Vermont St is probably the most attractive and least costly,” said Bishop Dunn.

He added that demolition and rebuilding on Vermont St “is probably the least effective option”.

“The bishops are asking for more information.”

He said the cost would first have to be determined.

“We’ve got to work out which is the most cost effective. Cost effectiveness would be the key factor for the bishops,” Bishop Dunn said.

In 2016, diocesan general managers appointed members to a group that
worked with seminary Rector Brendan Ward to find out how to address these issues.

“There are a lot of advantages where we are now on Vermont St. especially with Good Shepherd College just along the road,” Bishop Dunn added.

Most of the academic formation of the seminarians takes place at Good Shepherd College.

“An argument for moving is sometimes, it’s really good for a seminary to have a nearby park or grounds where people can walk.”

Bishop Dunn said there were some suggestions for the seminary to be moved back to Mosgiel.

“The disadvantage of that is it’s very far from a lot of the pastoral experience opportunities that you get in a place like Auckland,” he said. “The advantage of the Ponsonby site is centrality in Auckland.”

In the 1990s, the bishops decided to move the seminary from Dunedin to Auckland.

According to the seminary website, at the end of 1997, the seminary moved to Auckland and a year later was established on its present site.

The reasons given for the move at the time were the availability of qualified staff and the need to interact more with Maori and Pacific cultures.

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