23 June 2017 » Home > The Meuli Years
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THE MEULI YEARS

Our next Parish Priest was Father Denzil Pierre Meuli who had spent the intervening years away from Three Kings adding two doctorates to his qualifications. As his earlier years promised, he was a cleric of extraordinary scholarship and one absolutely dedicated to the principle of prayer. He was determined to make the parish an inspiration of prayerful endeavour in Auckland.

Within a year of his return to our parish Father Rodgers, for years known affectionately as Father Joe, passed away. As was befitting, the church was packed with clergy, religious and parishoners to pay their respects. Monsignor Arahill gave an inspired eulogy at the requiem and was perspicacious in bringing into his speech the Latin inscriptions of the nave. They had been specially chosen by Father Rodgers for his church and so it was appropriate that they featured in the final tribute to the founder of the parish. Peter McConnell, John Rosser and Dennis Sullivan were among the pall bearers. At the grave-side the last post was played because Father Joe had been an army chaplain; red poppies were scattered over the casket; and the Salve Regina was melodiously intoned. The final tribute then was in the language the priest loved so passionately, the language he had been trained in when in Rome in the thirties.

Father Meuli planned to have perpetual exposition of the Blessed Sacrament and with his proverbial determination he succeeded. He began by having such a devotion on Saturday nights and Sundays. He then gradually extended the times until the whole week was dedicated to continuous prayer. This was a fine achievement. Needless to say the bill for candles was frighteningly high, and the electrical light fittings burnt out because of unrelieved use. Yet the parish became a Mecca for prayer, an oasis which attracted people from all over Auckland. It seemed that Three Kings had become a centre of pilgrimage.

The Last Gospel was reintroduced and the prayers at the foot of the altar for the conversion of Russia were reinstated. Every Mass was prefixed by the recital of the Rosary. The sermons became lengthy - lengthy lectures in theology. The laity became exposed to incredible amounts of high powered learning. Who could ever forget, who could possibly want to forget the brilliant and inspired sermons on the crucifixion and the full import of the physical suffering of that diabolical punishment? Father Meuli had the interior of the presbytery redecorated and a modem twin Kent wood fireplace installed. He was an enthusiast for the Latin Mass and petitioned Rome for a clarification of rulings concerning the continued use of Latin in the Mass. This document was written in English and in Latin, and certainly showed evidence of deep legal training and a thorough grasp of minutiae.

The parish had become involved in the spreading of the faith too through the Catholic Enquiry Centre. George Askew who was a convert to catholicism had managed this link with the propagation of the faith but when he passed away Lorraine Smith took over this responsibility and has for over a decade been in charge of the group of supporters of this movement within the parish.

One of the major changes in the parish community was the departure of the Sisters of Saint Joseph from Frost Road to their new accommodation in Olsen Avenue. They continued to work in the school until the end of 1987, when lay teachers became responsible for the education of the children.

In 1988 Father Meuli was encouraged to form his alternative ministry in the Waitakere Ranges and it is there that he continued to draw a congregation from all over Auckland.

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