With the imminent final Mass, closure and sale of the Parata St site of Our Lady of Fatima church in Waikanae, north of Wellington, it’s a time of high emotion within the parish of Our Lady of Kapiti.

Moving on is never easy, in particular when people are saying “goodbye” to somewhere where so many have felt so comfortable for so long.

Somewhere that so many have shared faith, love, sorrow, and comfort for
themselves, their families and their friends.

These are all feelings that are being pondered as farewell is bid to Our Lady of Fatima church, Waikanae, with the last Mass there on August 18. There will be a move to the new Our Lady of Kapiti parish centre, Presentation Drive, due for opening at Easter, 2020.

Our Lady of Kapiti church under construction.

What pre-empted this move is well discussed and documented — it includes two earthquake-prone churches, a need to relocate the parish school, an overall shortage of priests, and direction from Cardinal John Dew as to the location and direction for the new parish complex.

One parishioner, on his return from Australia, wrote: “Church is my worshipping community, the people who gather with me to celebrate Jesus in our lives, it is not the buildings that we do it in. You could collect us all up at Mass and put us somewhere else, and we would still be the same group of people gathered to celebrate our faith.”

The faith has been served well by any number of buildings within the Kapiti region, and when necessity has dictated change, it has happened. This was, no doubt, accompanied by the same pangs of sadness that many parishioners are feeling at the moment.

But, those who went before us made sacrifices from which we benefit, and the present generation is making the same sacrifice for those who will follow us.

An important part of the new parish centre complex will be the Our Lady of Fatima Chapel, so the location may change, but devotion to Our Lady will continue.

Up until Easter, 2020, St Patrick’s Hall will continue to be used as a Mass Centre, and also there will be a Sunday Mass at Cedarwood Funeral Home and there will be a number of celebratory outdoor Masses. Alternative arrangements have been made for any requiem Masses when required.

One final thought — “We are the parish”.

Bob Houston is chair of the Our Lady of Kapiti Pastoral Council.