St Bernadette’s Parish, Hornby / Darfield

D 825 Hornby Aug 06

The parishes of Hornby and Darfield were merged in 2013 under Fr Paulo Filoiali-i.


Regarded as a rural area Hornby had no separate identity and was mostly regarded as an outlying area of Riccarton. Officially part of St Mary’s Parish, based on Manchester St, Hornby became part of the newly created Riccarton Parish when it was established in 1924. It was served by priests of the Riccarton Parish until 1949, when it moved under the pastoral area of Our Lady Of Victories, Sockburn.

In 1898 a church was opened on Hornby Junction Road (later called Carmen Road). By 1950 the Church had moved to Tower Street and was served by the Sockburn Parish priests.

In 1957 a church hall was erected by the Sockburn Parish in Manuere St, Hei Hei.  A year later a new parish was established in Hornby and, being the centennial year of the apparition of Our Lady to St Bernadette at Lourdes, it was decided to call the new parish St Bernadette’s.

Priests who have served in the Hornby Parish:

Fr Frank Owens (Admin) 1958
Fr Ted Brosnahan 1958 – 1965
Fr Tony O’Reilly 1965 – 1970
Fr Rodney Falconer 1971 – 1974
Fr Kevin Clark 1975 – 1980
Fr Kevin O’Reilly 1980 – 1983
Fr Frank Kelly 1984 – 1995
Fr Brian Fennessy 1996 – 2001
Fr Christopher Friel 2002 – 2003
Fr Paulo Filoiali-I * 2004 – current
*Fr Paulo became PP of the newly merged Hornby Darfield Parish in 2013


The formation of the parish of Darfield dates back to 1888 when Rev J J O’Donnell was appointed the first rector. Prior to this the area, with a strong Catholic community, was included in the Lincoln and Leeston parishes, with Mass celebrated by Fr Chervier SM at the church in Darfield, which was opened, debt-free, on 31 October 1880. During Fr O’Donnell’s time a presbytery was built and the little Church of the Holy Angels at Darfield was extended and renovated.

Church of the Holy Angels

In the early years the Darfield Parish consisted of three churches (Darfield, St Catherine’s, Springfield and St Teresa’s, Coalgate).  The Church of the Holy Angels burned down in 1935, and was a devastating loss to the Parish. Remarkably, within eighteen months, St Joseph’s opened (11 October 1936) due to the dedication and commitment of the priest and laity in the Parish.

St Joseph’s

Some of the early priests who served the Parish:

Fr James J O’Donnell 1888 – 1892
Fr Chastagnon 1892 – 1902?
Fr Dean Foley (Few months) 1902
Fr P W Ahern 1903 – 1908
Fr Leen 1908
Fr Noyoux 1908
Fr Tyler MSH 1908 – 1911
Fr Fanning MSH 1911 – 1912

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St Bernadette’s Parish, Hornby / Darfield