St. Paul Parish is one of the two Salesian parishes in Auckland in New Zealand, ministering the needs of the ordinary Catholics. Fr. Mika Leilua serves as the parish priest, and he is supported by Fr. Joseph Pham and Fr. Aleki Piula. Other two Salesians: Fr Mathew and Fr James serve at St. Mary’s parish in Avondale.
St. Paul’s Parish in Massey is a vibrant parish with people from different cultures and ethnicity gather. A distinctive group in this parish is made up by migrants and refugees from Burma. These simple, hardworking and devout people are seen regularly at parish Masses as well as parish activities. Many Burmese children are regular altar servers in the parish.
This Burmese Catholic group was visited by Fr Will Matthews SDB from Australia from 23-28 September. During his visit, regular prayer meetings and religious instructions were held at homes and in the parish hall at St. Paul’s. The summit of his visit was the Sunday Eucharist celebrated at St. Paul’s on 25th September.
On fine Tuesday of 27th September, Fr. Will took a group of children, young people and their parents for an excursion to Auckland city. They visited the Sky Tower, many of whom have never been before. They also made the Year of Mercy pilgrimage to St. Patrick’s Cathedral. The Auckland Harbour was visited in the afternoon where all young and old enjoyed sight-seeing and some games.
There are more Burmese Catholics living in Wellington and Nelson. Fr. Will Matthews visits about twice a year to each community in New Zealand.