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Rarotonga’s first cathedral reopens as Monsignor Bernadin Castanie Centre

Friday 8 December 2023 | Written by Melina Etches | Published in Local, National

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Rarotonga’s first cathedral reopens as Monsignor Bernadin Castanie Centre
The Cook Islands Catholic Church, led by Bishop Paul Donoghue, right, celebrated the restoration of the first cathedral in the Cook Islands yesterday. MELINA ETCHES/23120710

Bishop Paul Donoghue, the head of the Cook Islands Catholic Church, led a joyous celebration yesterday alongside members of the diocese as they marked the restoration of the country’s first cathedral.

The landmark building has been blessed as the Monsignor Bernadin Castanie Centre, named after the first bishop of the diocese.

Monsignor Bernadin Castanie arrived in Rarotonga from Tahiti, French Polynesia, on October 29, 1894, at the age of 25.

Serving the diocese for 45 years, he died at the age of 70 on May 14, 1939 and is buried at the back of the building.

Those who worked alongside Monsignor Castanie include the sisters of St Joseph of Cluny, Petero Winchester and family and all the members of the congregation of The Two Hearts of Jesus and Mary.

A plaque dedicated to Monsignor Castanie was also blessed in gratitude of his generosity in labouring for the Lord in the country.