The Catholic people of France laid the foundations of the Faith in New Zealand.
The first Marist missionaries led by Bishop Pompallier were funded mainly by the Catholics of Lyons through the fledgling organization of Pauline Jaricot and known nowadays as the Pontifical Mission Society.
When the ship the Aube arrived in Akaroa in August 1840 with the first French settlers their number included two Marist priests Frs. Jean Pezant sm and Comte sm and Brother Florentin sm and soon to be joined by Fr Tripe sm. So began the presence a line of Parish Priests that continues to this very day.
Priests are essential to the life of faith of the Catholic community as they not only labour to preach and teach Jesus Christ and his Gospel but they enable the Last Supper and the Sacrifice of Calvary to be made present as the food of the Eucharist – the bread from Heaven.
Marist priests served Akaroa till about 1880 and made a return in 1986 and have maintained a resident Marist since. From 1880 till 1986 the Bishop of Christchurch and his Diocesan priests served the Parish.
The parish has changed a great deal from the days of the first French settlers and the Maori community. Today it is a small service town that has expanded into a charming holiday place and tourist town. The 1865 St Patrick’s Church continues to be the centre of worship and gathering place for all and sundry where the mysteries of faith continue to be celebrated.
Most visitors include the Church on their walkabout tour. All are made most welcome at the Sunday 9-30 am Mass at 29 Rue Lavaud. (03) 308-7083
Plan to- make a visit. Light a candle. Say a prayer.
Early Missionary Priests
Bishop Pompallier and Marist Fathers Tripe, Comte, Séon, Bernard, Chataigner & Chervier.
Served the district from 1840 to 1870’s. The Parish was formally set-up in 1880.
The Priests who served at Akaroa
1880-2 Father Donovan, R.I.P.
1883-4 Father Tracy, R.I.P
1884-7 Father O’Connor, R.I.P
1887-89 Father Kickham, R.I.P
1889-92 Father N.Purton, R.I.P
1892 Father H. Bowers, R.I.P
1892-1902 Father R. Dunham, R.I.P
1902 Father J. Foley, R.I.P
1902-08 Father J.Kennedy, R.I.P
1908-19 Father S. Bonetto, R.I.P
1919-23 Father F. Seward, R.I.P
1923-26 Father O. Gallagher, R.I.P.
1926 Father D. Lordan, R.I.P.
1928-34 Father T. O’Regan, R.I.P.
1934-37 Father P. O’Doherty, R.I.P
1938 Father T. Browne, R.I.P
1938-44 Father P. O’Meeghan, R.I.P
1944-48 Father F. Kelly, R.I.P
1948-51 Father J.McKay, R.I.P
1951-54 Father M. Jones, R.I.P
1954-55 Father F. Conway, R.I.P.
1955-56 Father M. Jones, R.I.P.
1956-57 Father H. Verhoevens, R.I.P.
1957-58 Father F. Conway, R.I.P.
1958-59 Father L. McDonnell, R.I.P.
1959-65 Father T. O’Donnell, R.I.P.
1965-66 Father John Owens
1966-69 Father Tom Cloher, R.I.P.
1969 Father P. Cahill, R.I.P.
1970-74 Father Jeremiah Murphy, R.I.P.
1975-76 Father Kevin Burns
1976-78 Father Brian Parish
1979-82 Father Barry Jones – Now Bishop of the Diocese.
1982.84 Father Denis Nolan
1985 Father Antony O’Reily, R.I.P.
1986-88 Father Frank Kennedy, SM R.I.P.
1989 Father Pat Abbott, SM R.I.P.
1990-94 Father John McHale, R.I.P.
1994 Father John Fitzimmons, SM R.I.P.
1994-1999 Father Phil McCormack SM R.I.P.
1999-2000 Father Dennis Scully SM R.I.P.
2000-2001 Father John Weir SM
2001-2007 Father Dennis Scully SM R.I.P.
2007-2013 Father Vince Curtain SM & Brother High Peacock SM
2013 Father Paul Shannahan SM