History in brief

On 1st April 2015 the parishes of Sacred Heart and St Peter’s  amalgamated to become the present day Parish of Sancta Maria.  Our parish has three Mass centres – St Peter’s Church, Beckenham, the Carmelite Monastery in Halswell Road, and Sacred Heart Church, Addington.  Sancta Maria (Holy Mary) was the name of the ship which brought Bishop Pompallier into Akaroa Harbour in 1840 and which began the Catholic Mission in our part of the world.

Addington became the Parish of the Sacred Heart in 1920, with Fr James O’Connor as parish priest.  The current church on Spencer St was opened and blessed by Bishop Ashby in June 1971.

Beckenham became St Peter’s Parish in 1928, with Fr Alexander O’Hare as parish priest.  The current church on Fisher Avenue was opened and blessed by Bishop Joyce in December 1956.


The Discalced Carmelite Nuns came to Christchurch from Sydney, Australia, at the invitation of Bishop Matthew Brodie, who desired a community of contemplatives to support the apostolic works of his diocese by their life of prayer and penance.   The Sisters took up residence in Halswell Rd, part of Addington Parish area, in 1933.  The Sisters sacramental life is served by the Marist Father’s in our parish.  See the Carmelite website here.