St Mary of the Angels, Wellington

St Mary of the Angels, Wellington

Saint Mary of the Angels in Wellington started as a small chapel in 1843, built by Father O'Riley and made official by Bishop Pompallier in 1844. Over time, it went through many changes to become the striking building it is now. The first chapel, called "the chapel of the Nativity," was expanded several times until a bigger wooden church named "Saint Mary of the Angels" replaced it in 1874, in honor of a chapel important to Saint Francis of Assisi. This building was destroyed by fire in 1918, leading to the construction of the current building, which opened in 1922 with a blessing from Archbishop Redwood.

Frederick de Jersey Clere designed the church in 1919, incorporating traditional Gothic styles with some French influence. Its front design, inspired by the Cathedral of Saint Michael and Saint Gudula in Brussels, was groundbreaking for using reinforced concrete in a Gothic church, a mix of concrete, brick, and a timber roof supported by concrete arches and steel rods, ensuring it was both stunning and sturdy.

Inside, the church has beautiful stained glass windows around the upper walls, including a special rose window and others that show scenes from the crucifixion, the Rosary, and Saint Joseph's life. These windows create a colorful, sacred feel inside. The church is also filled with statues, like a marble version of Michelangelo's Moses, the Pietà, the Holy Family, and various saints, adding to its spiritual atmosphere.

The church has a strong tradition of liturgical music, starting with Gregorian Chant in 1905. When the current building was opened in 1922, a choir of 70, directed by Edward Healy, sang at the first Mass. Its organ, built in 1958 by George Croft and Son Limited and updated in 1984, showcases the church's commitment to music.

Saint Mary of the Angels is also a historical site, recognized as a "Category I" historic place for its significant history, architectural beauty, and cultural importance. It's been a vital part of Wellington's Catholic community, from being Archbishop O'Shea's pro-cathedral between 1936 and 1954 to hosting Suzanne Aubert's funeral in 1926, known for its church music and spiritual support to the community.

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St Mary of the Angels on Map

Sight Name: St Mary of the Angels
Sight Location: Wellington, New Zealand (See walking tours in Wellington)
Sight Type: Religious
Guide(s) Containing This Sight:

Walking Tours in Wellington, New Zealand

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