Forsyth Barr Stadium in Dunedin has been a venue for many different events since it opened about three years ago, but a new first was achieved on the Sunday of Labour Weekend.

Children bringing hosts forward for consecration bow during the Mass at Forsyth Barr Stadium on October 26. (Marelda O’Rourke-Gallaher photo)

Mass was celebrated with a temporary altar area set up on the grass in front of the end stand normally occupied by Otago University students during an Otago Highlanders home game.
This time, the end stand was occupied by a thousand or more Catholic faithful attending a celebration of 25 years of Kavanagh College and more than 150 years of Catholic education in the city.
All Sunday morning Masses in Dunedin parishes were cancelled in favour of the combined celebration at the stadium.
Kavanagh College principal Tracy O’Brien indicated that since the parishes and parish schools were a vital ingredient in the life of Kavanagh College,
the combined Mass was seen as a way of involving them in celebration of the college’s 25th anniversary.
The day was overcast and threatening rain, so the advantage of the covered stadium again came to the fore.
The Mass began with a group from the Catholic Samoan community adorning the altar and the celebrants with flowers.
Fr Gerard Aynsley celebrated the Mass, supported by a number of local clergy who had had links with the college over the quarter century.
Kavanagh College was established in 1989 and represented a combination of three former high schools that had served Dunedin from early times — Christian
Brother’s High School (boys), St Dominic’s College (girls) and St Philomena’s College (girls).
Towards the end of proceedings a plaque commemorating the contribution of the three orders involved was blessed. It will be placed on a site in the Kavanagh
College grounds.