North Taranaki Pastoral Area Letter About the Fire

BOX 32
Taranaki Mail Centre

9 January 2014

Dear brothers and sisters,

I’m writing to you about the events, which unfolded on Monday afternoon. I know many of you will be struggling with what has happened and like myself, are experiencing a range of emotions including shock, sadness, anger and disbelief. At the same time, I have a profound sense of relief that no one was injured or died.

I also have a deep feeling of gratitude towards the emergency services including the fire service and police. I was touched by their professionalism and kindness. They were very aware that our church is a sacred place and they went out of their way to help us recover the Tabernacle and Blessed Sacrament and other sacred objects as soon as it was safe to do so.

Lastly, I feel grateful for the strong community spirit, which exists in our parish and school communities and which was so evident, both at the time of the fire and over the past few days.

I think it’s fair to say that what we have experienced is like a death and we are in the middle of a kind of grief. Despite this, we need to move forward and the wheels began turning very quickly. The same evening of the tragedy saw our Diocesan Manager, Tony Murphy break from his holiday to liaise with our insurer and advise us about how to proceed.

Given the suspicious nature of the fire, the police, fire service and our insurers began an investigation the next day. This work continues and I invite you to pray for all involved in this process.

Despite the outward appearance, an initial assessment of the church indicates significant structural and internal damage.
As you may well be aware the insurance company has already taken control of the building. The first thing they did was to appoint an assessor to identify the extent of damage and likely costs involved. This process involves a comprehensive engineering report and, given that it’s holiday time, may take up to four weeks.
Once we have this information, we will then be in a position to enter into a process of consultation with ourselves, the parish, the diocese and the wider Pastoral Area about how to proceed.

Bishop Charles is coming to New Plymouth next weekend and wants to celebrate Mass and meet with us over a cup of tea. This Mass will be a St Philomena’s Mass, at St Joseph’s at 10.30am Sunday 19 January and ministries at this Mass will be provided by St Philomena’s parishioners.
May our good God bless you and your family at this time.

Kind regards,

Fr Craig Butler
Fr Craig Butler
North Taranaki Pastoral Area

Link: St_Phils_Fire_Letter

St Philomena’s Church – A Victim of Arson

St Phil Post Fire 1
St Phil Post Fire 2
Read more…

How it looks before the fire…

View from Brooklands Road
The Altar

St Philomena’s Church Fire Video

Liturgy – 3rd Sunday in Advent

WELCOME TO OUR LITURGY: How blessed we are to live “Anno Domini” rather than “Before Christ”. Christ’s birth divided history into “before and after”. It’s like the earth shifted on its axis. John the Baptist was the hearld of the greatest event in human history. Everything would be fundamentally changed. “I will pour out my spirit on all humanity” said God through the Prophet Joel (3:1). As Anno Domini people we are filled with that Spirit. We have intimacy, in Jesus, with the God of creation. A new age began on the first Christmas Day! Not just a new baby, but a new world, was born.

First Reading:
Isaiah 35: 1-6a, 10.

1 The wilderness and the dry land shall be glad, the desert shall rejoice and blossom; like the crocus
2 it shall blossom abundantly, and rejoice with joy and singing. The glory of Lebanon shall be given to it, the majesty of Carmel and Sharon. They shall see the glory of the LORD, the majesty of our God.
3 Strengthen the weak hands, and make firm the feeble knees.
4 Say to those who are of a fearful heart, “Be strong, fear not! Behold, your God will come with vengeance, with the recompense of God. He will come and save you.”
5 Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf unstopped;
6 then shall the lame man leap like a hart, and the tongue of the dumb sing for joy. For waters shall break forth in the wilderness, and streams in the desert;
10 And the ransomed of the LORD shall return, and come to Zion with singing; everlasting joy shall be upon their heads; they shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.

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