A Church in Change

New Zealand Catholics take their bearingsEdited by Helen Bergin & Susan Smith


A wide ranging exploration of the Catholic Church in New Zealand reflecting on the many gifts from the past and  the challenges of the present day as we step into the future guided by God’s Spirit.



A church in change: New Zealand Catholics take their bearings. This publication represents an attempt to explore theologically some of the realities that the contemporary Catholic church in Aotearoa New Zealand is facing today. It does so, not in the sense of providing answers, but rather as offering theological interpretations of our past and present realities.

Hopefully, it will offer future possibilities so that the church can embrace with renewed vigour its call to be a pilgrim people moving into the future with hope and confidence in the power and presence of God’s Spirit among them.


Introduction: Susan Smith

Part One: The Changing Face of the Church

  1. Recent Catholic Demographic trends – Peter Lineham
  2. Meeting them on their way – Samuel Brebner
  3. Oh God, You’re my Deliverer – the One, the One who carries us – Therese Kiely
  4. Grafted to a “Kiwi” vine: A South Asian people’s experience – Raphael Lobo
  5. Christmas and poverty: A Tongan reflection – Sateki Raass
  6. Religious life in Aotearoa New Zealand – Susan Smith
  7. The changing role of women in the Catholic church in Aotearoa New Zealand – Mary Thorne
  8. The changing face of priestly ministry: One priest’s reflection – John Dunn

 Part Two: The Church and Mission

  1. “Have not our hearts been burning within us?” Christian Marriage – Maria and Mike Noonan
  2. Becoming church in the Archdiocese of Wellington: Sing a new church into being – John Dew
  3. Finding its way: The church and social justice – Mary Betz
  4. Embracing a church-based ecological consciousness – Robin Kearns
  5. Ad intra or ad extra – ministry or mission? Catholic Lay people in Aotearoa New Zealand – Pat Lythe
  6. Catholic schools in Aotearoa New Zealand – Kevin Wanden
  7. Catholic media in the New Zealand church: Comforting the disturbed . . disturbing the comfortable – Cecily McNeil
  8. “The kind fire …” A personal reflection on Catholic spirituality in Aotearoa New Zealand – Michael Fitzsimons


Part Three: The Church – Unity and Diversity

  1. The Eucharist as source and summit of the church’s life – Neil Darragh
  2. Language is the key to understanding – Chris Duthie-Jung
  3. St Joseph’s Church, Hāto Hōhepa, Ōkakewai, Hokianga – Veronica Bouchier and Susan Smith
  4. Enduring influence or ancient artefact: Catholics and the Bible – Alice Sinnott
  5. Not what we build, but how we build: Catholic church architecture in Aotearoa – Tony Watkins
  6. Catholic women and the pontificate of Francis: Signs of hope? – Elizabeth Julian
  7. The Holy Spirit and the church – Helen Bergin

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