Last Mass at St. Luke's Church - Bayswater
Feast day of Saint Luke – Sunday, 18 October 2020
On a beautiful Spring Sunday current and former parishioners gathered at the church of Saint Luke in Bayswater. Monsignor David Tonks was the celebrant assisted by seminarian Mark Napa . Monsignor David gathered us outside around the foundation stone and the sculpture of St Luke to open the celebration with prayers, a reading and the sprinkling of asperges to remind us of our baptism.
We then moved inside the church and it was heartening to see that it was filled almost to capacity. Falling attendance, changing demographics, and the difficulty of timetabling priests for Masses at this church have meant its closure. Earlier this year there were consultations among parishioners, facilitated by the diocesan general manager, James van Schie. This was a useful exercise, leading to much deliberation and prayer. It became clear that the parish of Takapuna could not sustain the church into the future.
Attending the Mass were many familiar faces of past parishioners who had moved to other locations. We also had a former altar boy with us, and our oldest parishioner who is 94 had attended the opening of the church at Easter 1960. Archbishop James Liston officiated at that time.
At the commencement we were greeted in Māori as an acknowledgement of the tangata whenua who had dwelt in this area before European settlement. Another reminder of our ancestral connections was the procession of the Books of Remembrance bearing the names of those whose lives had been connected with the church, through a marriage, a baptism, a funeral, or by regular attendance. One of our parishioners offered a fascinating overview of the sixty year story of the Church, set in the context of the history of settlement in the Bayswater area. Monsignor David in his homily reminded us that the Church is always its people not its buildings, however memorable the latter might be. He added his thanks to all those past and present who had worked within the community as ministers, musicians or had helped in the many ways that a functioning church needs.
At the end of Mass we gathered in the hospitality room adjoining the church and enjoyed a shared lunch which allowed many to ‘catch up’ with family, friends and parishioners who had been out of contact because of COVID restrictions or the limitations of time and distance.
- Laurie Davis
Parish Priest : Rev Msgr David Tonks
Assistant Priest : Rev Carlo Cruz
Permanent Deacon : Stephen Fraser
Presbytery Ph: 09 489 6338
Address: 10 Dominion St, Takapuna