“Our history does more than remind us about our beginnings and our buildings, it tells us about the faith journey we have been on : where we have been, where we are and perhaps gives us some clues about where we need to develop…..We share common principles, practises and beliefs and these are the things that bind our community together and sustain it and enable it to adapt to a rapidly changing world.”
Colin Macintosh (Taken from St Matthew’s Bryndwr 1950-2000 A celebration of the first fifty years)
In a city where people travelled by tram, bicycle or by walking, those Bryndwr parishioners with cars often stopped to give their neighbours a lift to Mass at St Joseph’s in Papanui. So by 1950 the roots of the Parish was already formed.During his tenure as Bishop of Christchurch, Bishop Joyce created 8 new parishes in the city, in recognition of an increase in population and the growth of suburbs.
St Joseph’s Parish struggled with servicing the new housing developments in Ilam, Bryndwr and Fendalton. The Parish Priest Fr Timoney was instrumental in initiating the purchase of property in Bryndwr and on 2 November 1949 Bishop Patrick Lyons appointed Fr Harrison the first parish Priest of the newly created parish. And on 1 May 1950 the boundaries of St Matthew’s were confirmed by the recently appointed Bishop Joyce.
The name St Matthew’s was chosen by Bishop Lyons, in memory of the second Bishop of Christchurch Matthew Brodie. However, Fr Timoney, the Irish PP in Papanui, wanted to name the new parish St Patrick’s. As a compromise, the parish school when opened, was named St Patrick’s.
The first Mass was held in the parish on 17 March 1950 at the presbytery.
Straight away the parishioners set work fundraising for a church and school. On 5 November 1950 Bishop Joyce blessed and opened the new church on Jeffrey’s Rd and St Patrick’s School opened with 56 pupils on 6 February 1951, under the Sisters of Mercy. A larger church was opened in 1967, with the original church functioning as a parish hall.
With a committed and active parish roll, St Matthew’s flourished. The Parish was later renamed Holy Trinity and in 2019 it amalgamated with the neighbouring Christ the King Parish of Burnside.
At Pentecost 2020 they will join with St Joseph’s Papanui to form the new Christchurch North Catholic Parish.
Early Parish Priests of St Matthew’s Parish:
Fr George Harrison D.D. 1949 – 1959
Fr Joseph Kelly 1959 – 1967
Fr Basil Meeking (later Bishop) 1967 – 1970
Fr Kevin Burns 1970
Fr A. (Tony) O’Reilly 1971-82
Mons Bede O’Gorman. 1982-99
Fr Kevin Clark 1999-2004
For further information refer to the parish history St Matthew’s Bryndwr 1950-2000 A celebration of the first fifty years.