Topic: Roman Catholics - Rangiora

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Roman Catholics - Rangiora

Roman Catholics

The beginnings of organised Roman Catholicism appeared in the 1860s, when the Rev Fr John Claudius Chervier began searching for his thinly scattered parishioners. A church was built on the corner of George and Victoria Streets in 1870 on a site given by Mrs Sarah Brook Percival and she later gave three other one acre blocks for a cemetery, a school and a presbytery.

Built for 970 pounds, the new wooden chapel was opened by Fr Chervier on July 31, 1870. The church continued without a permanent priest until 1877, when the Rev Fr Binsfeld was appointed.

A large two-storey residence of 11 rooms and stables were provided for him in May, 1878, for about another 970 pounds. Fr Binsfeld had a daunting task ministering to an area between the Waimakariri and Conway rivers. To help unify his parishioners he organised picnics and social events.

The need for a larger church was satisfied on October 17, 1886, when it was dedicated by Bishop Redwood to St Mary and St Francis de Sales. The patron saint of the Catholic Parish of Waimakariri is St Peter Chanel, who was martyred in 1841 on the Pacific Island of Futuna.                                       


In the next year the old church became the first stage of the St Joseph's convent school with 32 pupils and staffed by the Sisters of St Joseph's of the Sacred Heart, who were replaced by the Sisters of Notre Dame des Missions in 1898. An imposing new convent, on the other corner of George and Victoria Streets, was consecrated on March 3, 1907.

Extract from "Rangiora - An early pictorial record"


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