1910 – 1920
Parishioners have always been made to understand that the Parish of Good Shepherd started in 1914, 2 years after the church school started. However, recent revelations have indicated the the parish was formally established by Bishop Liston in 1921 when it was cut off from St. Benedict’s Parish. Records do show that in 1911, Monsignor Gillan, first diocesan priest of St. Benedict Parish had purchased the land at the end of Telford Avenue in the new suburb of Balmoral. Monsignor Gillan was an Englishman and a convert from the Church of England who arrived from England in 1887. The land, until 1921 was often referred to as the Parish of Mt. Roskill.
A 2-classroom church was opened in Pine St., staffed by the Sisters of St. Joseph who, in the next 13 years, would travel daily from St. Benedict’s Church in Newton to Potters Park by tram and then complete their trip by foot to teach in Balmoral.
On 31st July, church land in Watling St. Mt. Eden, was sold with the intention of “reducing the debt.” Whether the debt was for the land or the church, the archives do not specify. It goes on to say, that on 31st August 1914, lot 20 deposited plan – P1,227 sq. meters, more or less (Telford Avenue) was transferred to the Roman Catholic Bishop of Auckland. The payment was £1,650 or NZ$3,300.
On 7th February, Monsignor George Gillan, also Vicar General of the Diocese, blessed the new church. It is said that over the years, Monsignor Gillan, after saying mass in Newton, would proceed to various addresses, namely Whau Creek (Avondale) and Huapai, to say mass once again.
In one of the letters of Bishop Cleary, he stated that in one of these visits, he discovered a concentration camp, similar to the ones in Ireland and found 50-60 Maori men who had been baptised but had not completed all the sacraments of initiation. At this, he was dismayed and reported his discovery to the Bishop and asked for a remedy to this situation.
The Church was still being used as a school. The church was moved from Pine St. to the present church location where it would be later be extended. The cost was said to be £400; i.e., NZ$800 and the extensions £226 or NZ$552. The church, with its extensions, now used as parish hall and named after the founder of the Order of the Sisters of St. Joseph, Mary MacKillop.
Balmoral Parish was cut off from St. Benedict. Reverend William John Murphy, later popularly addressed as “Dean Murphy” was appointed as first parish priest of Balmoral. Father Murphy boasted both vision and abundant energy where he spent long hours every day and during the weekend shovelling and carting away scoria with the help of the men in the parish, laying out the grounds where the parish complex now stands.
The foundation stones of the school, presbytery and convent were laid and blessed by Bishop Liston. The bishop came back 4 months later to open the ‘handsome bricks structures with roughcast facing’ which had facilities for 200 pupils but which had reached already an initial roll of 260, almost one third more than the planned capacity.
The presbytery was completed.
The convent was completed and the Sisters of St. Joseph moved from St. Benedict’s.
Classrooms were added.
More classrooms were added.
With New Zealand slipping deep into the depression, Dean Murphy added a concrete structure against the then parish hall to be used by the unemployed men of the Parish with a billiard table inside to allow networking in an endeavour to assist the unemployed into the workforce. Later when the depression lessened, this are of Good Shepherd became a byword for dancing, games and socialising. A number of sports and social clubs flourished.
Early in 1930s, the property next to the convent on Telford Avenue was purchased for a number of retired elderly sisters of St. Joseph.
In this decade, when Father Arthur Lenihan arrived to the parish newly ordained, he was put to work by Dean Murphy in levelling the parish grounds and one of his first jobs was to dig out the grotto that was placed in front and to the side of the convent.
In the post war period the population of Auckland was continually rising. The Three Kings Parish was cut off from Balmoral Parish.
On the 17th of September, Dean Murphy died aged at 72 after 43 years of priesthood. He died peacefully in the Miserecordiae Hospital. Monsignor Murphy was succeeded by Father James McMahon who was assigned in Fairfield in Hamilton.
A new school of prefab buildings was added to the school Owairaka was cut off from Balmoral Parish.
Good Shepherd School became the largest Catholic primary school with a role of 496 pupils. Classes were often in excess of 90 children in a classroom being taught by nuns well over their 70s.
On August 20 over 700 people were present for the official opening and blessing of a new Church of Good Shepherd. It was built in the style of churches prior to Vatican II, a steel framed structure covered with Glenburn cavity brickwork designed by Nyall Coleman. When the main doors were opened, parishioners eagerly entered, many of them to gain their first glimpse of the well-designed interior, with its air of spaciousness, well-lit sanctuary and effectively simple marble altar, alongside the crying room. Pontifical High Mass was celebrated by Bishop Delargey with Archbishop Liston, carrying out the blessing. The new church cost £40,000 pounds; i.e., NZ$80,000.
It took several years for money to be raised for the renovation of the old church building into a hall and placed on permanent foundations supplied with a new roof and paint. All these cost £2900 (NZ$580). The Parish had a new hall. The renovated building was valued at £15,000 pounds (NZ$30,000) whereas its demolition would have brought in only £600 pounds (NZ$1200) for the timber.
Pacific flavour began to take root in the parish. Many people form Tonga and Samoa began to build Balmoral the character that it has today.
In December of this year, the Second Vatican Council came to a close and with it, changes were introduced to the whole Catholic world, including Good Shepherd Parish; among them, Latin masses changed to vernacular, elimination of the altar rail, and taking of communion in hand.
Father James McMahon suffered a stroke.
Father Joseph Maguire, another Irishman arrived to replace Father McMahon as parish priest.
Alterations were made to the church; i.e., the altar rails were removed along with the tawa pulpit and the organ was moved from the choir loft to the front of the church by the St. Josephe’s altar.
The Private Schools Conditional Integration Act 1975 was passed by the government which mean that there was a division between churches and schools and a number of alterations; i.e., teaching Sisters without a teaching certificate were no longer allowed to teach.
The Sisters of St. Joseph withdrew from the parish.
The GIT (Growth in Faith Together) Centre was opened in the former convent by Cenacle Sister Jean Sinclair, offering residential stay for adults with intellectual disabilities to this day.
Father Maguire retired at the presbytery and became assistant priest to Father Leo Doyle, another Irishman.
The Parish Council which had fallen into recess was revived with totally new membership.
Father Maguire died at Mater Misericordeae,a aged 68.
Pope John Paul II made a historic visit to New Zealand. Two of Good Shepherd’s young parishioners, Bernadette Gallagher and her brother, Owen Roe were privileged to be chosen to present gifts to the Pope who responded with an appreciation kiss on Bernadette.
Father Patrick Ward, a Kiwi, succeeded as parish priest until the end of 2003.
Father Ward started to renovate the entire parish, a job that never ceased, starting with the presbytery, roofs, walls, floors and methodically choosing one major project each year with several minor jobs during the rest of his tenure as parish priest.
For the next decade, Parish life continued with innovation to fund the many projects. This included ‘housie’ which was held in the Grey Lynn Parish. There was a change in the parish boundaries within the Pacific communities as young Tongan and Samoans began to migrate to other areas in Auckland such as South Auckland and West Auckland on account of the growing cost of properties and council ratings within the parish area.
Fr. Patrick Ward’s 40th year anniversary as a priest was celebrated. In the same year, Father Ward and some parish youth attended the World Youth Day in Italy (Rome), Germany and Israel.
Father Roberto Ruben Elago, MSP, and Filipino missionary succeeded Father Pat Ward as parish priest. At this time, the Auckland Filipino Chaplaincy also transferred from St. Mary’s Ellerslie to their new home in Balmoral.
Indian people started to arrive in numbers form the continent of Asia to our parish. This enabled an Indian community to be established for their spiritual needs.
Father Ruben celebrated his thirty years as a priest. In this year, the parish also held a big concert called Songs for the Soul at Holy Trinity. Anglican Cathedral Parnell with Fr. Nilo Resco being the main singer to raise funds for the leaking roof.
Renovations of the old classrooms on the right hand side of the church and the naming of the various rooms to denote that ownership rested with the parish, not the communities; i.e., John Paul II, Lorenzo-Lenihan, McMahon and the Dean Murphy Rooms. Repairs to the church carried out to ensure water could no longer gain access to the sanctuary.
Seminarian(now MSP Father) Macky Calo and a large contingent of youth from all parish communities attended the World Youth Day in Sydney, Australia.
Electrical rewiring, upgrading and renovation of the Church hall along with renaming the hall Mary McKillop.
Bonus Pastor Pilgrimage to the Philippines with Father Ruben
Electrical upgrading of the Church buildings to the right of the church, i.e., John Paul II etc. Father Elmer Dimarucut, MSP arrived from Japan to replace Father Ruben. A grotto was built alongside the presbytery arranged by Father Elmer.
Father Elmer left for the Philippines and was replaced temporarily by the Father losevo Ratuvereseganiwara (Auckland Fijian Chaplain). In this same year, Father Linus Miranda MSP arrived and succeeded Father Elmer.
Parish celebrated Father Linus Miranda’s twetny-fifth anniversary as a priest.