New Catholic Cathedral Will Stand On Barbadoes St Site

Published: Mon 22 Apr 2024 07:41 AM
Christchurch’s new Catholic cathedral will be built on Barbadoes Street, Bishop Michael Gielen announced in a pastoral letter to the Catholic community this weekend.
In the letter, titled “Returning to Our Roots, Embracing Our Future”, Bishop Gielen said the decision was reached after hearing from a range of key advisers and technical experts, as well as the responses to a survey of the wider community.
The survey invited people to consider three possible cathedral locations: Barbadoes St; Armagh St, on land the Diocese owns; or to refurbish and expand St Mary’s Pro-Cathedral on Manchester St.
Almost 85 per cent of the 1,604 survey respondents supported the proposal to build the new cathedral at Barbadoes St.
Catholic history dates back more than 160 years on the site, where the former Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament stood. The cathedral was severely damaged in the 2011 earthquake and later demolished.
Bishop Gielen said Catholics in the Diocese “share my desire for a cathedral that glorifies God, that brings our community together, that serves as a source of unity and that enhances worthy liturgical celebration”.
While Bishop Gielen did not provide a timeline for the cathedral construction, he said he understood the “urgency” many people have to see a new spiritual home built. He said the project would proceed with similar urgency, but with great care.
“This will be the first new Catholic cathedral built from scratch in New Zealand for more than 120 years, so it will be a complex undertaking,” he said. “As people in Christchurch know, it takes several years to erect high-quality buildings. Our new cathedral will take time, but the wait will be worth it.”
Read more about the survey findings and next steps in the project at
The next stage of the project is the consideration of a new name for the cathedral. Bishop Gielen will initiate a process to choose a name in the coming weeks.
Diocesan general manager Simon Thompson said master planning for the Barbadoes St site, which will include the cathedral, a cultural and community centre, offices, a presbytery and ample parking, will begin this year. That process will inform the decision on where on the site the cathedral will be located – which he said might be in a different place to its predecessor.
Mr Thompson said an ordered selloff of land in the central city will soon commence, the proceeds of which will be used to fund the cathedral precinct build and support other Church initiatives.
As with a timeline, a budget for the project is not yet known, but will emerge as master planning continues. Analysis of the three possible locations had found the Barbadoes St site was the most economical. It also offered the greatest capacity for future growth as needed.

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