Catholic Community of North Harbour.
The Journey so far!
In August and September the parish held assemblies to respond to the questions:
- what kind of faith community do we aspire to be?
- what pursuits must we follow to be that kind of community?
- what needs do we have in order to follow those pursuits and be the community we aspire to be?
As a result of the parish assemblies the parish “Mission Statement 2005” was produced, published, and distributed. The first aspiration of this statement pointed to the need to renew our places of worship:
“aspiration one: we aspire to be and be seen as a community whose primary worship is worshipping God, through Christ.”
And this aspiration included the following advice:
“our liturgical environments need to be examined for renewal opportunities that might increase participation and strengthen our ability to conduct the rites of the Church with dignity and grace”.
In May and June 2009 all parishioners were invited to participate in a process that responded to the Mission Statement advice. These assemblies asked the question:
“Could the prayer life of the community be strengthened by the renewal of our liturgical environment?”
Sixty people (now known as the Advisory Group) assembled over sixteen hours of formation and discussion and produced a document called “Concepts for Renewing Our Places of Worship”. This was printed and offered as a vehicle for further discernment concerning design and renewal of the worship spaces. The document was mailed to all parishioners on the parish data base.
In July the executive of the Parish Pastoral Council invited around fifteen members of the Advisory Group to form a Renewal Group. The task of the Renewal Group was to determine whether there was support for producing design schemes and to be a sounding board for the architects. The Renewal Group affirmed the employment of architects to produce design sketches for a renewed liturgical space in the church of St. Kieran according to the concepts expressed by the May assembly.
(at this time the parish leadership has not sought design sketches for a renewed liturgical space in the church of St. Cecilia. There is uncertainty about the wisdom of doing so at a time when the church is used less seldom than in the past and while a PPC sub-committee researches ways of using the building which may enliven the parish).
In November architects Randall Lindstrom and Jason Williams resided in the parish to work on design proposals.
On December 17th the architects meet with the Renewal Group and members of the Parish Pastoral Council to table and discuss the design proposals. Those present decided that the design proposals were in accordance with the concept statement and should be tabled with the Advisory Group
The Renewal Group met on 11th February to prepare a presentation to the Advisory Group. This presentation took place in the church of St Kieran on the 13th March. Those present were given opportunity to record their response to the question “Does the design proposed meet the needs expressed in the document “Concepts for Renewing our Places of Worship?” The same presentation was repeated on Saturday 27th March at 3.00. All members of the parish were invited to this. Members of the Diocesan Liturgical Commission visited the parish site, discussed the architects’ plans and met to consider the proposal.
The Commission has responded in writing. The cover letter may be read—LINK. The detailed response may be obtained from the parish office.
The Journey to Come! At all Masses on the weekend of August 5th the proposals will be explained and displayed to the congregations. People will be given opportunity for written response. The architects will be asked to engage quantity surveyors to put dollar figures on the various segments of the design suggestions and on the maintenance requirements of the church of St Kieran: cost around $3000. On receipt of a quantity surveyor’s report the parish finance committee will be able to give realistic advice to the parish leadership. And, the possible ‘staging’ of any project would become clearer. At this stage there is no decision or requirement to proceed. However, at this time there would be assembled sufficient knowledge for future decisions to be made with clarity, including: scope and nature of possible liturgical change.
The Renewal Group continued to liaise with the Parish Pastoral Team, Parish Council and Finance Committee in the intervening period since the appointment of the current Augustinian Community in May 2011.
The exisiting plans for St. Kieran's Church were carried as far as possible to prepare for a Development Application at which point a number of important and unanticipated issues were revealed. This led in turn to an alternative approach to the connecting of the church and Parish Centre to create a Gathering Space.
In the meantime the interior of St. Cecilia's Church at Balgowlah was refurbished to create a worship space more in keeping with our current needs with the provision of a Reconciliation Room, the relocation of the original baptismal font into the sanctuary and the use of stome to create a more permanent set of sanctuary furnishings.
At a Parish Pastoral Assembly convened in February 2013 there was a general concensus to proceed with interior renovation of St. Kieran's Church and to attend to necessary maintenance work. as well as addressing some issues related to disability access compliance and more effective use of the interior space of the church.
This may involve the redesigning of the Reconciliation Room, the relocation of the music area, the construction of a new permanent baptismal font in the sanctuary area, and the opening of the church foyer to create a more welcoming and uncluttered main entrance to the church.