In 1997 New Zealand historian Michael King published a well-received history of New Zealand Catholicism. He titled his work “God’s Farthest Outpost.” If New Zealand is the farthest outpost, then there is no doubt that the farthest outpost of this farthest outpost is the Chatham Islands, 600 mile off the east coast of the South Island of New Zealand. For the past few years I have had the privilege of serving as the Parish Priest of the Chathams.
Unfortunately I am only able to be on the Chathams a few times each year. Apart from general visits I am on-call for funerals and weddings.
Last night’s TV One’s My Town episode was a very good insight into Chathams life.
The church features (albeit indirectly) a couple of times. This image pointing to St. Therese of Lisieux on the main island of Chatham always draws a smile.
The Church on Pitt Island (22 mile off the Chatham coast) also features. The name: “Our Lady of the Antipodes” reinforces the furthest outpost position. I suspect there is no church in the world (of any denomination) more distant from Rome… (geographically only of course)
The episode is well worth watching at this link:
Over the years I have blogged about the Chathams a number of times. You can find these entries using the “search” button on this page (up a bit and on the right)
above, the locals gathered for Mass
and below the church visible as the red and white dot
in the centre of the screen, on the flight in.