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City icon opening for Heritage Week visits

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by David Batchelor
Majestically perched over Oriental Bay, St Gerard’s Church and Monastery is an iconic symbol for Wellington and an architectural centre-piece for Mount Victoria.

For Wellington City Heritage Week (23-29th October), St. Gerard’s is opening its doors on Tuesday 24th and Saturday 28th for the public to experience its sweeping views over the harbour, beautiful stained glass windows, and to get to know the community who live in and care for the buildings.

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The Church was built in 1908 and the Monastery in 1932 during the Great Depression. It became the home for the Catholic Order the Redemptorists, until it was sold in 1990 to the Institute for World Evangelisation – ICPE Mission, to use as a training centre for missionaries.

Spokesman for the ICPE Mission Ignatius Susilo says that “at the moment there are about 21 missionaries from 7 different countries sharing their lives in this place by living out a communitarian lifestyle and being actively involved in proclaiming the Gospel in the region and beyond”.

The mission reaches out to the community through parish missions, prison visits, programs in schools, seminars, soup kitchen services, spiritual mentoring, and street outreaches to name a few. Mr Susilo says that this relationship with Wellingtonians has been on the rise since the introduction of guided tours in 2014.

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Some of the positives about living in the building are the spectacular views over the harbour and the beautiful wood panelling, the windows, and the furniture. However, Mr Susilo admits that such a grand building requires plenty of time cleaning and can become very cold during winter.

Since 2013, the monastery has been registered as earthquake-prone, but the extent of the building’s strength is yet to be finalised. A second assessment is underway. No damage was recorded from the 2013 and 2016 earthquakes.

When asked about the future of the building, Mr Susilo states the ICPE Mission recognises the monastery’s status in the city and wishes to preserve its history and role as a place of faith, architectural beauty, and education. It forms part of New Zealand’s history in which Christian missionaries played a substantive role.

St Gerard’s Monastery Open Day and Tours is part of Wellington City Heritage Week 23-29th October. Tours of the buildings will be held at 11am and 2pm on Tuesday 24 October and
at 10am to 4pm on the Open Day on Saturday 28 October

See more events and information at www.wellingtoncityheritageweek.co.nz.

To contact the ICPE Mission, please email icpe.nz@gmail.com or visit https://www.stgerards.org.nz

David Batchelor is organiser of Wellington City Heritage Week

3 comments:

  1. Will, 17. October 2017, 14:47

    If the Institute for World Evangelisation really did care for the building, it would have a credible seismic strengthening plan.

     
  2. DB, 18. October 2017, 10:32

    I believe ICPE is undertaking assessments to figure out exactly what is required but understandably their forte is not in earthquake strengthening or multi-million dollar works. I hope that professionals can come together to help this icon and community create a plan.

     
  3. Alice, 29. October 2017, 22:13

    St Gerard’s Monastery Looks terrible up close. Why have they let it get to the state that it has?

     

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