Church gone, memories linger

MICHELE ONG
Last updated 05:00 08/07/2014

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Church members and passersby gathered outside St Philomena's Catholic Church when it faced the bulldozer yesterday.

The 50-year-old church, in New Plymouth's Brooklands Rd, was destroyed in a fire in January. The Catholic community was devastated.

Karen Maclean, of New Plymouth, has been attending St Philomena's for about 10 years and her husband "grew up in the church".

She was "very sad" to see it demolished but it needed to happen to make way for fresh beginnings.

"My kids were baptised in the church and Jake [her son] had his first communion there," Maclean said.

Her children were third-generation St Pius students. Their grandfather, Clyde, attended the school "the first day it opened".

St Pius productions, dramas and graduations held at St Philomena's. Former student Molly Tyrrell, 11, said it was sad to see the church go because it was where she had her graduation ceremony when she finished primary school last year.

Amanda Green used to live across the road from St Philomena's. She said her friends had tied the knot at that church.

"When it burnt down, my son [Hayden] knew it was his friend's church," Green said.

Another parishioner who wanted to be known only as Pauline, said St Philomena's meant "a lot to her family".

Pauline had been attending the church for over 30 years and built a house down the road to be closer to St Philomena's.

"It's so sad, it was a lovely church."

St Philomena's finance and administration member Andy Butler said a multipurpose hall, with a small chapel incorporated, has been proposed for the site.

Conceptual drawings are under way and it will be another three to four months before a final decision was made, Butler said.

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- Taranaki Daily News

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