by JUDY OLSEN
AUCKLAND — The first of seven “Celebration Days” by Dove Catholic Fellowship for Women, recognising 30 years of fellowship, attracted 135 women to Sancta Maria College
in Auckland on June 21.

Past presidents of Dove, above, from left to right: Shaaron Arnold, Helen Reinen, Val Morrison (current national president), Helen Funnell, Carleen Walsh, and Mary-Rose Webb (seated), the first Dove president and national president.

The focus of the days of celebration is to give thanks to God for the blessings Dove Ministry has brought to hundreds of women throughout New Zealand over the past 30 years.
Former Dove national presidents, and women from the original Auckland formation group, shared their experiences of meeting and praying together and receiving the vision for Dove ministry.
Dove ministry began with a seminar day in February 1984. From then Dove has continued to meet for monthly meetings, full-day seminars and weekend retreats. The women shared how, from the original Dove team, other leadership teams throughout New Zealand had evolved.
Dove national president Val Morrison shared her vision for the future, stating that although there will be changes, Dove will remain faithful to the original guidelines.
Thirty white doves were released to symbolise sending forth the vision of Dove.
A day of singing, dancing, meeting old friends and making new friends was completed with the celebration of Eucharist, with Bishop Patrick Dunn.
In his homily, the bishop said: “I give thanks on behalf of the New Zealand Catholic Bishops Conference and from all whose lives you have touched and enriched.”
Bishop Dunn reminded guests that the Church is missionary and, on the feast day of The Body and Blood of Christ, that the Eucharist changes us. We become the One we receive. We receive power and the presence of God for eternal life and for the mission.
In closing, he said: “Thanks again for the incredibly important ministry of nourishing women in the Church and for your role in keeping alive and vibrant the Marian dimension, which
is indispensable for the life and mission of the Church in every age.”
Other celebration days were to follow in Palmerston North, Wellington, Rotorua, Kerikeri, Nelson and Christchurch.

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