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OPENING OF NEW CATHOLIC CHURCH AT KAIKOURA.

"THE STAR OF THE SEA."

(From the Kaikoura Star, May 26.)

GLORIOUSLY bright weather marked the opening of the Church of the Star of the Sea on Sunday morning, the ceremony being performed in a most impressive manner by the Very Rev. Father Cummings, of Christchurch. There was a large attendance, and we are informed that in consequence of the seating accommodation being so crowded, some forty or fifty persons were unable to gain admission. The church occupies an admirable position in the heart of the town, on the esplanade, facing the east. The exterior is very neat, without much pretension to ornamentation ; the buttresses relieve the building, adding to the general effectiveness of the design. The interior is very nice indeed, the appearance being exceedingly pleasing. Everything has been finished off in an artistic manner, to the infinite credit of the builders. All the windows are of coloured cathedral glass, the lights being diamond shape and of various shades, the colours harmonising very nicely. The window over the altar is a triple one, of the same character. The church has good seating accommodation. The size of the building is 30ft. by 20ft. ; the walls 13 feet ; the distance from floor to ridge is 21ft. 6in. The building is elevated on concrete foundations.

The opening ceremony concluded, Mass was celebrated by the Rev. Father Walsh, whose rich mellow voice rang out clearly. The choir — with Miss Hollis as organist, and Mrs. Bell and Miss Smith (Ludstone) as soloists — did excellent service. The musical selections were as follows : The Kyrie, Gloria, Credo and Agnus Dei by Conoone ; the Sanctus and Benedictus by Mazzinghi ; the Aye Verum, duet, by Mercedante.

The Very Rev. Father Cumraings, S.M., Vicar-General of the diocese of Chrisrchurch, delivered a very able and eloquent address, forcible and powerful, which was listened to with profound attention. He took as his text : " O Lord, the beauty of Thy house and the place where Thy glory dwelleth." He said that it was his privilege to be called from where he was living (in another diocese —involving a lengthy journey) to assist in opening the beautiful little church in which they were then assembled. The appealing letter to him from their zealous and energetic priest was irresistible, but there was also the pleasure in taking part in the dedication to God for Divine Worship a place that was not to be used for any profane purpose. Very far back in the history of the world the plan and the prescribed form together with the method of dedication and consecration of places to be used for Divine worship were given them. It was with the greatest solemnity their cathedrals, churches, oratories and chapels were dedicated for the purposes for which they were constructed. For centuries the services of the Christian Church had to be engaged in, owing to Pagan hostility, in the catacombs. She had to hide herself in the bowels of the earth. Constantine was the first pagan emperor to free the Church from that bondage. Since then magnificent edifices had been erected to the worship and glory of God. In the beginning ot the world no places were erected in which to worship Him. Every habitation and every family was a temple, and the heart of man the altar. But man's heart grew corrupt. The common stone was deemed a fitting altar, and the patriarchs used such in building shrines in solitary places. The works of Abel, Noah. Abraham, Isaac and Jacob were referred to. The interior of the tabernacle built by Moses was exceedingly beautiful, and God came down and filled it with His glory. Later on, about 500 years after, Solomon received directions for the erection of the magnificent temple built by him. Nothing was spared to make it a fitting dwelling place on earth for God. Gold. silver and all the costliest gems and material obtainable — nothing was considered too precious — were used in the building, the splendour of which was marvellous. He directed attention to the Book of Kings, where the glory of the Temple was related ; the magnificence of it, and of ita dedication and consecration ; the laying down by holomon of his crown and sceptre. Each and every community could do something, however email, to imitate the example set them. The first things required were devotion, lovo, and generosity m the heart ; adoration and praise of God. The erection of the church they had that day dedicated to God showed that such attibutes existed here. The Almighty had been worshipped in far poorer temples than that in which they were assembled — Bethlehem, ami others — but they were taught to be munificent and generous. God would not be outstripped in generosity. Free giving in devotion, love, and of the material wealth bestowed upon us. would yield an abundant harvest. The various sacraments of the Church were the channels of intercourse with God, and should not be lightly regarded or neglected. The Church was like a lighthouse sending forth a warning to the mariner. The Church was a lighthouse built on the ooast of eternity, directing the wayfarer how to walk and what dangers to avoid, leading him eventually to the Haven of Rest. A Catholic church was a new well spring from which flowed the living water. Some 60 year-i ago— in IS3G or 1837 — there was not a single Catholic church in New Z 'aland, ami not a resident priest. Then came the devoted Monsignor Poinpalher, accompanied by a priest and a lay brother, the Bishop fir.>t s.iying Mass in a wharc in forest clad New Zealand. Now the Catholic population of the Colony was 11)3,000, they had 1 archbishop, 3 bishops, priests, 4o() nuns, 60 brothers and 120 churches and chapels. This sprang from the grain of mustard seed sown by the late Mr. Poynton, who resided at Onehunga in the year 1823-24 — a man who was full of the faith of his fathers. That devout Catholic took his first-born child 1000 miles to have it baptised, and the second one 2000 miles — so difficult was it to reach a Catholic priest in those days. (The zeal of that son of the Church was held forth as an example). The

preservation of the spiritual temple (the body) from defilementBe ye as living temples '—being the exhortation. He made an appeal to the congregation to subscribe liberally to the church fund God did not ask anyone to do anything extraordinary without first endowing them with extraordinary gifts. He hoped that all would give freely, according to their means. A debt, interest-ridden church was a cankerworm to the priest— a source of great anxiety Man was only the steward of the treasure God gave him Some men wasted money in gambling, drink and pleasure and trave grudgingly to God. He had reason to believe that the appeal in this case would meet with liberal response." In the evening, taking as his text the words : "My child give Me thy heart," the Very Rev. Father preached another excellent sermon A distinguised personage had, he said, come to them in an especial manner that day— that personage being none other than Jesus Christ who had been present in the ceremonies of the morning The voice of the Saviour appealed to them to serve God. The great mission of the Holy Catholic Church on earth, he went on to say was to save souls. She occupied herself with no other work except when people sought to do her evil, and then she had to use one or more of the thousand means and methods of sustaining, of warning and of educating her children. She had especially in view the advancement of religion, education, labour and law. Without development of religion man would go back to paganism. Education was the sister of religion. The ennoblement of labour m every form was a high and worthy aim. There were two masters disputing authority over us ; God and the world God had a right over us, the World none. God created us, and everything we have came from Him and is only held in trust by us. Faithful or unfaithful in that trust, a moment came in the lives of all when we were powerless, either for good or evil to control those gifts. Man was frequently reminded that it profited him nothing if he gained the whole world and lost his own soul. The world was man's constant thought, but few ever paid heed to the future. Eternity could not be fathomed by man, nor any adequate illustration be given of it. Were a little bird to come every 1000 years and take away a grain every time until the whole earth had been removed the operation would be as nothing compared with eternity. The woes and horrors of lost souls would therefore be appalling. Man should serve God unceasingly. Yet how few thought of Him as they should do. Wherever he went he heard worldly matters discussed— prices, the money markets, grain prospects, the play, etc.— but God's name was rarely mentioned in the train, steamer or street, except in a blasphemous manner. Prayer was enjoined— its value and efficacy, when sincere, being urged. Work honestly done, with pure intent, for God was one form of prayer. Titus, although a pagan, examined his conscience daily and if he found he had not done any good work to God's glory was dissatisfied with himself. How much more, then, should those be who lived in the Faith. The proper use of time, its great value, the evils of misspent precious moments, the evil of not rightly employing opportunities, were features dealt with and aptly illustrated. The arrows of death were ever falling thickly around u5— 33,000,000 in a year— and not only on the old and weak, but also on the young and vigorous. The proper observance of the Sabbath was pointed out, aa also was the special malediction upon those who, having opportunity, neglected their duty. As an instance of what could be done to adorn God's hous-e, the case of the peasant woman (Mary Sutherland) was referred to, who, seeing the house of her father's landlord furnished with gold and silver vessels, denied herself butter on her bread, milk to drink, boots and shoes to wear, and so saved £500, with which she obtained a chalice for the parish church — walking to xMass on the morning of her death with naked feet. Their beloved and zealous pastor was pleased with that morning's appeal, but then, he feared, that, in some things, Father Walsh was easily pleased. However, generous response had been made by a number of the members, and he hoped that all cause of anxiety would soon be removed. He concluded with words of earnest tenderness and profound pathos.

The Rev. Father Walsh said he could not fully express his appreciation of the manner in which the Rev. Father Cummings had responded to his appeal for his valuable aid, nor for his act of participation in the solemn and sacred festivities of that day. Few knew of the work that Father Cumniings had to perform, of the difficulties he had to surmount, or of the weight resting on the shoulder-, of the loving and genial Vicar-General of the diocese of Christchurch. He could only imagine the great inconvenience and trouble the visit to K.iikoura had occasioned him, but he knew of the high and sublime motives which actuated him. After according their highest thanks to God for the favours He had conferred upon them, the heartiest thanks of the Catholics of Kaikoura were due to the Vicar-General for his great kindness in visiting Kaikoura, and, on their and his own behalf, he begged to offer the Rev. Father Cummings their warmest thanks. He also begged to heartily thank the members of St. Michael's choir for their cheerful and valuable aid. They were all much indebted to their esteemed fellowtownsman, Mr. James Gray, for .so kindly lending them the organ used in that day's services. No small credit was due to Mr. C. Haswell for designing the building, and to Mr. W. Cooke for erecting it. He was assured from the beginning that in entrusting the work to Mr. Cooke he was placing it in the hands of an upright and honourable man. Events had more than verified that assurance. Mr. Cooke had carried out the work with such a degree of completeness that if any gain accrued to him it was of an infinitesimal character. His and the congregation's thanks were due to him, and they were tendered in unmeasured terms. He had also to thank ' their many kind friends and well-wishers in Kaikoura generally. The service was then concluded.

The incidental music of the evening was " 0 love of the Sacred Heart," by Mehul ; " The Rosary," by Haydn ; " Aye Maria," by Stanfield ; Litany of the Blessed Virgin, " O Salutaris," by Haydn ; Rossi's " Tantum Ergo," duet, sung by Mrs. Bell and Miss Smith ; " Adoremus," " Laudate " and •' O Sanctissima." Miss

Hollis, Mrs. Bell and Miss Smith are deserving of especial mention for the excellent manner in which they performed their parts respectively ; the music rendered by them was highly appreciated. The other members of the choir acquitted themselves very creditably. Lady members of the congregation had added some very pretty floral decorations to the church. Mesdames G. Miles, J. McSwiggan, E. Whittle and T. Jackson worked energetically in this and other matters. Messrs. Burland and McSwiggan also deserve mention ; they proved good stewards.

We can but very imperfectly re-echo the patans sung by members in praise of their f ondly-loved shepherd, the Rev. Father Walsh, whose zealous and untiring efforts on their behalf is the theme of ceaseless acclamation. To them he is the dearest of toggarth aroons.

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Permanent link to this item

https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/periodicals/NZT18970604.2.48

Bibliographic details

New Zealand Tablet, New Zealand Tablet, Volume 04, Issue 6, 4 June 1897

Word Count
2,305

OPENING OF NEW CATHOLIC CHURCH AT KAIKOURA. New Zealand Tablet, Volume 04, Issue 6, 4 June 1897

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