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Fitzgerald's Town

The Roman Catholics The

The Roman Catholics The Roman Catholic presence in the Lincoln district began at Shands Track when Patrick Henley settled his family there on 17 March 1862, his birthday, and the feast day of his patron saint. There he built his home on the south-east corner of Boundary Road and Shands Track which he made available for Mass until in January 1871 a small church was built at the opposite corner on land he had gifted to the Church. Masses were celebrated by Father Jean Claude Chervier of the Society of Mary who had arrived in Canterbury from France in April 1861 to assist in the widespread Canterbury area. When Christchurch became a parish in its own right in 1871 Fr. Chervier was appointed priest of a country parish stretching from the Conway River in the north to the Rangitata River in the south. He established his headquarters at Shands Track which began to be known as the Catholic Mission of new Headford. On 1 January 1871 the new church was ready for the first Mass. This was a momentous day for the local Roman Catholic community and fittingly celebrated with help from members of the choir from the Pro-cathedral in Barbadoes Street and friends from Christchurch, Leeston and elsewhere. As noted by the Weekly Press 18 the Catholics of Shands Road deserved great praise for the manner in which they have exerted themselves in collecting funds for the erection of their church, which we understand, is quite free from debt. A presbytery was built in that same year on the land given by Patrick Henley who donated a total of five acres for church purposes. Building materials for the presbytery were carried from Christchurch by parishioners in their carts and drays. It was home for the parish priest until a new presbytery was built in Lincoln in 1908 by Fr Richards on land bought some ten years earlier. 112

42. Roman Catholic Church of the Reparation, with priest and parishioner on the corner of Boundary Road and Shand’s Road. The first church for a short time known as St. Stephen’s can be seen in background. The population of the new parish continued to increase and by 1878 the church on Shand’s Track, sometimes known as St. Stephen’s, like every other church in the district, was soon too small. Accordingly in 1880 it was replaced with a larger, more imposing structure on the same site. The new church, the Church of the Reparation, was opened by Bishop Moran of Dunedin in September 1880, and despite the difficult economic conditions at the time, the building was free of debt within two years, a tribute to the generosity of the parishioners. 19 The Church of the Reparation was to serve the parish, with the later addition of a tower, until it was replaced in 1957, by St Patrick’s at Lincoln. 113

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