Easter Sunday church-goers forced outside

St Patrick's Cathedral in Auckland (Newshub.)
St Patrick's Cathedral in Auckland (Newshub.)

Attendees at some Easter Sunday services in central Auckland today were lucky to get a seat, with many forced to stand outside the entrance to St Patricks Cathedral this morning.

The cathedral, described as the mother church of the Catholic Diocese of Auckland, is holding five services throughout the day.

Bishop Patrick Dunn says while it's busier at Easter, the church has attracted an increasing number of attendees over the last 10 to 15 years, which he attributes to migration.

He says many of the churches in Auckland are at capacity, with standing room only most Sundays at the 11am service. 

Bishop Dunn says that since Thursday there have been around 16,000 people through St Patrick's.

Just a week ago, three Catholic churches in south Dunedin were closed for good, and their congregations merged.

The Church said dwindling numbers were part of the reason for the amalgamation.

The 2013 census showed the number of New Zealanders identifying as Christian had dropped to less than 2 million -- down seven percent in seven years. Catholics made up the largest part of that group, though, with nearly 500,000 people.

Easter Sunday marks the end of the 40 days of Lent, which begins on Ash Wednesday.


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