St. Mary of the Angels
Formerly the Catholic Chapel, Boulcott St
The history of the Roman Catholic Church in Wellington dates from Christmas 1840, when Bishop Pompallier celebrated the first Mass in a house lent by Michael Murphy, the Magistrate. It is recorded that,besides all the Catholics a large number of Protestants were present. The first resident Priest was Father J.J.P. O'Reily, a Franciscan who arrived in 1843. It was Father O'Reily who built the first Church of St. Mary of the Angels in 1843, on the site of the present church of that name.
Robyn Thorp has kindly sent us the
following transcription from a letter she received from The Archivist, Archdiocese of
Wellington, Catholic Centre:
"The first church on the Boulcott Street site was the Chapel of the Nativity of our Lord built by Father O'Reily in 1844 and replaced in 1875 when it was renamed as the Church of St Mary of the Angels. Ann McNamara" (Robyns Great Grandmother) "was probably baptised in the Chapel of the Nativity for the soldiers of the garrison regarded it as their church and it was probably in the vicinity of the Barracks. Ann's parents probably moved to a cottage in the vicinity of the Cathedral for the Cathedral records show the baptisms of Ann's brothers John McNamara and David McNamara and her sister Catherine McNamara. All children of John McNamara and Ann Curling/Curlen/Curline."