by NZ CATHOLIC staff
TE KUITI — The centenary of St George’s Catholic church in Te Kuiti was celebrated in true King Country style on March 10, with about 120 past and present parishioners having a very enjoyable day.
The day of the centenary, a Saturday, dawned beautifully fine, for which organisers were grateful, as the planned programme relied on good weather. Speeches and a lunch took place outside under marquees.
Some of the clergy, Fr Peter Gray and Fr Paddy Kinsella, SM, as well as Brother Pius, arrived the night before and stayed in the presbytery with parish priest Fr Eamon Kennedy. Fr Kennedy said the parish was fortunate to have Bishop Denis Browne present, along with a number of clergy who have served in Te Kuiti, including Fr Peter Carde, SM, Fr Joseph Akkara, CMI, and Fr Alex Kapiarumala.
Fr Kennedy was the Master of Ceremonies for the Mass, which was concelebrated by Bishop Browne and all the priests present.
St Joseph’s Catholic School choir, directed by Suzanne Downey and accompanied by Maryann Symonds, sang beautifully at the Mass. This certainly enhanced the occasion and made it even more special.
After Mass there was a group photo behind the church in front of leadlight windows. This was followed by morning tea, and the speeches and lunch concluding the official part of the day. Much of the food was generously provided and catered for by members of the parish and school community. Their generosity was such that they could have fed three times the number of people present, Fr Kennedy said.
The speeches were given by Ngaire Grayson, who recalled memories of other parishioners, those past and present. Mrs Grayson was followed by long time parishioner and former Prime Minister Jim Bolger and former parish priests Frs Kinsella and Gray. Mr Bolger reportedly spoke about the changes in the Church since Vatican II and also his memories of visits to St Peter’s Basilica in Rome.
Bishop Browne concluded the speeches by saying grace before lunch.
After lunch all present were invited to visit the school and view the work the children had completed in preparation for the centenary.
The day was enjoyed by all, Fr Kennedy said. It was a wonderful celebration and many thanks went to all who contributed to the success of the occasion, he added.
by NZ CATHOLIC staff