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Bishop announces site for new central Cathedral

Bishop Paul Martin has announced this morning that a new cathedral will be built in the centre of the city adjacent to Victoria Square.

As well as the new cathedral, a pastoral centre / community hub, a primary school for a relocated St Mary’s Primary School, offices for the diocese and residential accommodation for clergy, plus a multi-storey car parking building, will also be built on the site bordered by Armagh Street, Colombo Street, Cambridge Terrace and Manchester Street.

The Cathedral parish fits into the announcement last weekend of the future structure of parishes within the diocese.  It is the bishop’s desire that the cathedral be part of the centre city and be the heart of Catholic life in the diocese and the city, where our Catholic community can visit on a daily basis to pray and reflect and for the church to be able to play a part in re-energising the life of the city.

The adjoining community hub will involve the wider public in a variety of activities and provide much-needed social services. 

A future cathedral is expected to be able to accommodate up to 1000 people and could be completed by 2025.  Today’s announcement is the starting point. Early next year we will begin in earnest, looking at potential architects and giving thought to possible designs. “This has been an extremely important decision for the Diocese and we must ensure that the next steps are taken with that importance in mind. It is critical that we appoint the right people and have an appropriate design and we will take the necessary time to guarantee that happens,” Bishop Paul said.

Early next year we will begin looking at potential architects and giving thought to possible designs.

The cost estimates including land and buildings are: $85 million for the Cathedral, $11 million for the primary school,  and $30 million for the diocesan share of the joint venture with the Carter Group for the pastoral centre, offices and clergy accommodation plus 600-vehicle  car parking building.

“In the new year we will be initiating a fundraising campaign where we are looking to raise at least $30 million and there will also be a stocktake of our property assets to see if we have any surplus to requirements. The site of the cathedral on Barbadoes Street is a potential property sale that springs to mind.

“This Catholic precinct will take five to six years to complete so there is time to look at a wide range of financial possibilities. The priority is getting on with the design so we get a clear idea of exactly what we are proposing,” he said.