St Paul’s parish is a very busy one on a Sunday fulfilling the spiritual needs of a variety of people. It is situated in a western suburb called Massey near Auckland. In this parish, the Salesian parish priest, Fr Mika Leilua, is ably supported by Fr Aleki Piula and Fr Joseph Pham, a new missionary from Vietnam.
This is an overview of what happens on a Sunday. On 24th April, the first Mass of the day was celebrated by Fr Mika Leilua at 8:30 at St. Paul’s church in Massey for an older group of the faithful. Then the 9:30 Mass was led by Fr Aleki Piula at St Malachy’s in Ranui, the second church of the parish. Fr Aleki who has come from the Kingdom of Tonga is the first Salesian priest hailed from that tiny nation is working now in the city of Auckland.
The recently arrived, Fr Joseph Pham celebrated 10:30 Mass at St Paul’s for the families with children. Fr Joseph has been in New Zealand for three months at the invitation of Fr Vaclav Klement, the regional superior of the Salesians. Being the fourth Sunday of the month, the Samoan community has their monthly Mass led by the visiting priest from Fiji, Fr. Taisali at 12:00 PM. He was concelebrated by Fr Mika and Fr Aleki. The ninety-minutes Mass was well attended by many Samoans settled in Auckland.
Then come 2:00 PM for the Mass of the Burmese Catholic community of the parish and the surrounds. Prior to the Mass, the faithful lined up for the Sacrament of Reconciliation for forty five minutes. The Mass was then celebrated by Fr Will Matthews SDB from Australia who also look after Burmese Catholics in Melbourne and Adelaide. During this Mass, Fr Will baptised two children, confirmed 3 adults and gave First Communion to three adults migrants. This Mass took nearly as long as the Samoan one! Fr Will comes regularly to New Zealand to see the spiritual needs of migrants settled in the country.
Salesians in Auckland currently run two parishes: Massey and Avondale. Two Indian missionaries, Fr Mathew VJ and Fr James are serving the spiritual needs of the faithful in Avondale parish.
Both parishes also have vibrant youth groups who are presently busy organizing their OzBosco trips to Sydney in the middle of May.
The works of Salesians in Auckland are truly amazing! They are continuing the love of God to the poor in the spirit of St. John Bosco.