by MARJORIE DAWSON
PALMERSTON NORTH — About 50 people gathered at the Cathedral of the Holy Spirit, Palmerston North, to celebrate 35 years of Catholic Chaplaincy in New Zealand (1978-2013) on Saturday February 23.
_The liturgy, which was signed, was organised by chaplain to the deaf, David Loving-Molloy, and involved many of the congregation. The hymns also used signed singers.
Bishop Emeritus Peter Cullinane celebrated Mass, supported by Fr Brian Walsh. The presence of one of the founders of this chaplaincy — Sr Molly Mercedes Griffin, along with her successor Sr Maureen O’Hanlon and many original deaf members — was especially poignant.
They were supported by Sr Dominic, who began a similar chaplaincy in Auckland at the same time. Representatives from Auckland and Wellington dioceses also attended. Prayers were offered for those who had contributed much throughout this time, but were not there, and remembrances for those who have died, in particular Sisters Gemma and Louise, Danny Beech and Marie Carroll.
_Apologies were received from Cardinal Tom Williams, Fr Geoff Gray, Ashburton, Dominican Sisters, and Brian Wegrzyn.__ Many of the founding supporters of Catholic Deaf Ministry were also involved in the foundation of Deaf Aotearoa, which began the same year.
_After the Mass, Mr Loving-Molloy explained about the archives, where more than 1000 photographs dating back to the 1940s have been processed and stored on disks at the diocesan centre. The newsletters from 1978 to the present have been bound into books.
Many of the 70 videos will be converted into DVDs to allow people to view important milestones and celebrations of the deaf community. It is hoped to eventually have those available on a website.
We See What You Mean, by Dorothy Pilkington, which details the history of the St Dominic’s School for Deaf Children, Feilding, from its inception in 1944 until its closure, and also the development of the Catholic Deaf Chaplaincy until the present day, is now for sale.
Mr Loving-Molloy outlined the background of the Deaf Project Team, which he has worked on for the past two years, in producing a DVD of the translation of the missalette into New Zealand sign language (NZSL). It is hoped a DVD will be released later this year.
_More stories and happy reunions took place at the lunch, where a cake was cut by the three Dominican Sisters present marking the occasion.

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