A major fundraising campaign has been launched to raise $1.6million towards the strengthening and restoration of Sacred Heart Basilica in Timaru. The overall cost of the project is $2.4million, with $0.8 million of that coming from Christchurch diocese insurance disbursements. The project also involves major improvements, maintenance and repairs.

The capital fundraising campaign titled “Our Turn: Our Future” was officially launched in June in Timaru.

According to a campaign pamphlet, steel and concrete will be used to reinforce the basilica’s nave, transepts and towers to ensure the church structure is above the mandated 34 per cent of the New Building Standard.

“To ensure our parish will continue use of the strengthened basilica as soon as possible, the diocese will manage the cashflow so that construction can start before all the funding has been raised,” stated the pamphlet.

Fundraising is anticipated to last five years and construction is expected to begin in late 2018 or early 2019. Support from parishioners and from the wider community is being sought — the latter because the parish believes the church provides a community
benefit.

Writing in the pamphlet, Holy Family parish priest Fr Brian Fennessy stated that “we now have a responsibility to fulfil the requirements to earthquake strengthen this building for public use and maintain the building as an impressive symbol of Christian Faith into the
future”.

A vision statement noted that the basilica is an “outstanding category 1 Heritage NZ landmark and an architectural masterpiece blending Roman and Byzantine design with touches of Art Nouveau decoration”.

“Our aims are to honour the belief and generosity of those who came before us and built up our church and our community; to renew the building so that it is structurally sound and can continue to shelter and protect our parishioners; and to create a warm and welcoming haven for the next generation of Timaru Catholics.”

Christchurch Bishop Paul Martin visited the parish on June 10. A presentation on the project was made with costings.

The basilica, designed by Francis Petre, was completed in 1911, at a cost of 23,000 pounds in a construction time of two years. Its centenary was celebrated in 2011.

The eight bells in the bell tower weigh eight tons.

For more information contact Holy Family Parish – email:parishoffice@holyfamilytimaru.org.nz ;  phone (03) 686 2010.

 

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