I mentioned in the post about the Samoa tsunami that our church is being pulled down, and thought I might fill in a few details.
I think it was in about 2000 that Father Martin Bugler (pronounced, as he carefully told us, Bugg-Ler - not like a man who plays the bugle!) - I suppose after consultation with the parish council - announced that it was time to build a new church building. Actually, he had talked about renovating the existing building, but after discussions with the bishop, had said we would build a new building entirely. Father Martin thought it possible we might begin the very next year.
We are beginning, at last - some nine years later. I am not surprised. Money considerations have been the primary reason for the delay.
Last Sunday, the 27th September, was our last Mass in the old building. During the week they have been setting up to use the hall as our church - probably for about a year, I am told. The old church - built in 1879 - is still standing but I presume will shortly be knocked down.
I confess I view the event with some sorrow. This is not principally nostalgia for the old building - although I personally saw no reason why it could not have been renovated and enlarged - but because the proposed new building is ... well, let me just say that a church building, whilst needing to be useable by the people, should be so built that it speaks of the glory of the Kingdom. I am not of the school that thinks only the gothic can properly be a Catholic church. They wanted this church to be a bit 'rounder,' a bit more 'communitarian.' From the little I know of architecture, the basilica style could have achieved the same ends - glory and usefulness - but I should reserve my judgement until I have seen it. There is not, in any case, anything I can do about what will be built - and I had made my views known during the planning stage. Now I look forward to the completion. I suppose it will not be done until sometime late next year - perhaps about Christmas, 2010, which will also mark the end of fifteen years that Susan and I have been communicant Catholics.