AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND
Fr. Robert MacPherson -
stationed in the Australia-New Zealand District - sent
in this report about a fire that occurred on the evening
of Tuesday, January 1, at the SSPX's chapel of the
Immaculate Heart of Mary & St. John Fisher in Avondale
(near Auckland), New Zealand.
Unhappily a fire broke out in our church in Auckland.
The damage, as you can see is extensive. The building is
now unusable, as is most of the things that were in it.
Vestments, statues, etc. The caretaker had just
replenished the oil in the sanctuary lamp about a half
hour or forty minutes before the neighbors saw flames
and called the fire department, so it seems likely that
that was the cause.
flames certainly started from the altar, though how the
sanctuary lamp could have fallen is not clear. As the
firemen couldn't find anyone in the unit where the
priests stay (and the house of the caretaker is somewhat
removed from the church), they broke down the door to
get in. They likewise needed to smash all the windows to
let the smoke out.
smoke and fire damage extended all the way back to the
other end of the church, which is why we've lost
everything (so I'm told) from the sacristy as well.
Luckily, the tabernacle was still intact, and safely
removed from the church. Fr Lavin was on holiday in the
area and so was able to remove the blessed sacrament. He
has since consumed the hosts. He said they tasted like
have plans to eventually build a new church, but this
will certainly push forward our plans. In the meantime,
it looks like we will need to find a hall to take care
of our 80+ faithful.
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