Church Name: St Joseph

(Photo courtesy of Marist Archives, Wellington)

In 1878 Fr Fauvel SM built a small wooden church with a shingle roof. It had a small nave with two smaller transepts and a tiny rounded sanctuary, seating about 150. The choir loft accommodated a harmonium and a choir of ten singers.

In 1879 Father Henneberry OSD, the noted Catholic Missioner, visited Temuka and his mission was given wide press coverage. He proposed to build a new Catholic Church in Temuka costing £3000 and at the close of his sermon subscriptions were canvassed and £2000 was promised on the spot. The Press immediately suggested that other faiths would do well to emulate what they saw as a most successful ‘Shut the door and stick up the congregation’ tactic.

Another source says the church was built by Father Chataigner: “Temuka grew as part of the Timaru Mission under the care of Fr Chataigner and Father John Goutenoire. The former energetic missionary built a tiny wooden church in the district west of Wilkin Street. The small church was a wooden building with a roof of shingles. It possessed a tiny body and two small wings. There was a tiny rounded sanctuary with three small steps mounting to the altar. It would hold about 150 in all. It had a tiny balcony that served as a choir loft. It accommodated a harmonium and a choir of ten.

From 1883 when the new church was built, the little church, somewhat enlarged, served as a school until 1914 when it was moved and then became part of the parish hall. It was demolished in 1965. Fr Fauvel designed the new church as a replica of his own parish church at Coutances in France.


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