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Cardinal Dew reads the proclamation declaring St Teresas Church, Karori (Otari Parish) to be the pro cathedral of the Archdiocese at the 5:30 pm vigil Mass on December 8 2018. Cardinal Dew also read the consecration of the diocese from 1855 to the Immaculate Conception by Bishop Viard,  after he had proclaimed the newly pronounced dogma, as a specific remedy against any recurrence of the series of severe earthquakes in the region over several months in that year.

Every diocese and archdiocese must have a ‘Mother Church’, a Cathedral Church, which is the official seat of the Bishop or Archbishop.

The word ‘cathedral’ comes from the Latin word, ‘cathedra’, which means ‘chair’. The Bishop’s Chair is a symbol of his teaching office and pastoral authority in the Diocese. It is also intended as a sign of the unity of believers in the faith the bishop proclaims as the one appointed to shepherd of the People of God. Wherever the bishop locates his chair, it becomes the most important church in the Archdiocese.

If a cathedral is under construction, or is being renovated, repaired or seismically strengthened – as is the current situation in the Archdiocese – then the bishop usually proclaims another church to be the pro-cathedral of the diocese for a period of time.

Cardinal John Dew consulted the Archdiocesan Council of Priests in September about the possibility of a pro-cathedral.

‘After considering a few options including evaluating space and car parking for Archdiocesan occasions, I asked the Council of Priests if they would agree with me naming the parish church of St Teresa’s, Kārori, as the pro-cathedral of the Archdiocese,’ says Cardinal John.

‘The Council has agreed and Fr Ron Bennett, parish priest of Otari Parish readily accepted this request. Therefore, I will be naming St Teresa’s Church as the pro-cathedral.’

‘When I return to Wellington [in October] from my meeting in Rome, there will be an appropriate ceremony to install my ‘Cathedra’ in St Teresa’s and the church will be able to be used for diocesan ceremonies.’

‘We thought a great deal last year about the words “Go, you are sent”. Our going out of our cathedral, or any of our churches is as important as going into it to pray. As we journey out from the cathedral, having heard the words ‘The Mass is ended, Go in peace’, we are sent forth to be a leaven and a light to the people around us. The Spirit of God, Spirit of Christ, impels us, doing more in and through us than we could ever ask or imagine.’