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The Cyclopedia of New Zealand [Taranaki, Hawke's Bay & Wellington Provincial Districts]

The Very Rev. Dean Grogan

The Very Rev. Dean Grogan, S.M., Priest in charge of the Catholic Parish of Wanganui, was born near Dungamon, County Tyrone, Ireland, and was educated partly in France, and partly at St. Mary's Church, Dun-dalk, where he was ordained priest in the year 1878. On his arrival in New Zealand, in 1879, he was appointed curate to the late Very Rev. Father Forest, parish priest of Napier, and it was during his stay at Napier that the enlargement of the Marist Brothers' schools was effected, mainly through his efforts. In 1880 Dean Grogan was appointed to the charge of the district of Hawera, which then included the whole of the coast from Wanganui to New Plymouth. He remained there for four years, and during that time he paid off £760 of debt, built two churches and a presbytery, enlarged the church at Hawera, and secured land in six different districts for future church purposes. In the year 1884 Dean Grogan succeeded Father Forest as Parish Priest of Napier, and as one church was not sufficient for the wants of his congregation, one of his first efforts was to purchase the site on which the beautiful church of St. Patrick's now stands, as well as a site for a new presbytery. Soon the second Catholic Church in Napier was erected at a cost of considerably over £6,000, including the price of site. Dean Grogan again enlarged the Marist Brothers' schools, as well as those of the Sisters. At that time the Wairoa district was part of the parish of Napier, and there also Dean Grogan enlarged and lined the church, secured the site of the present presbytery, and handed £210 to Father Lepretre on his taking charge of that part of the parish. Dean Gro-gan's last work in Napier was the building of a new convent for the Sisters of the Mission, a fine two-storeyed building. In 1902, after being stationed for nineteen years in Napier, Dean Grogan visited America and Europe, where he spent twelve months amongst his relations and old schoolmates. On his return, in February, 1903, he was appointed to the charge of the parish of Wanganui, where he has already erected a fine school at Aramoho, and has completed another new church (St. Joseph's) in this same suburb. This handsome church, capable of seating 400 worshippers, which was solemnly dedicated by His Grace Archbishop Redwood on September 1st, 1907, is, in design, workmanship, and finish, a masterpiece, and a credit to the Catholics of Wanganui.