+ Fr. JeLo, Parish Priest
St Mary's Paeroa
The story of the original St. Mary's Church at Paeroa goes back almost 140 years. On the 26th June 1881 it was opened by the Very Reverend Monsignor Fynes, who was impressed by the site on "Te Puru-o-te Rangi”. It is now 100 years since the Thames Catholic Parish began to function, Ohinemuri being regarded as part of it from 1868. Largely due to the efforts of Monsignor O'Reilly of Thames the first Church in Paeroa was built, the cost, excluding extras being £330. Prior to 1881 Mass was celebrated at the Central Theatre where all the denominations held their early services when visiting clergy came, generally from Thames. Until 1894 there was no resident Priest in Paeroa. The spiritual needs of the Catholics were looked after by the Priests of Thames and Te Aroha. In 1894 Father (afterwards Dean) Hackett was appointed resident Priest of the Ohinemuri Parish, remaining here for 23 years. Soon after his arrival Father Hackett, a man of great energy and popularity, set about raising funds for the erection of a Catholic School.
St Joseph’s Te Aroha
The present Te Aroha Catholic church was officially opened
on 22nd September 1957 (60 years ago).
The outside surface of the church had pink marble chips included in the concrete mix, and the church glowed in the sun. The original altar (which is now covered with wood) is made of pink marble and purchased from Italy. This was donated by Fr. Sheely’s mother as a gift to him for the new church, and to commemorate his appointment to his first Parish.