A priest with a guitar and songs criss-crossed Dunedin diocese over 10 days from the end of April to early May.

Fr Chris Skinner with some southland school children during his tour of Dunedin diocese.
Fr Chris Skinner with some southland school children during his tour of Dunedin diocese.

According to the diocese’s website, Fr Chris Skinner, SM,completed a tour around the diocese delighting all ages with his music. “He offered us workshops, concerts and played at several Masses,” the report said.

Amy Armstrong, from the diocese’s pastoral ministry, told NZ Catholic that the idea for the tour came from general manager Gerald Scanlan.

Ms Armstrong said the GM asked her to put a schedule together for the music tour.

She went to a couple of the events, she said. “His first event was a youth camp at Balclutha, so I took him there, and then we just sent him off with a diocesan car.”

The tour worked out really, really well, she said. She got regular messages saying how delighted everybody was with Fr Skinner’s music and energy.

Fr Skinner told NZ Catholic that he had had a wonderful time. “It was fantastic.”

He ran music workshops in various places, he said, mainly teaching people his Hopetoun Mass. That Mass was named for the street of that name in Auckland, he explained, where the Marist seminary is. “And I still like the term ‘hope’ in there, as well.”

He also did a number of songs that connect with the Year of Mercy and sang at some schools and Masses.

A particular highlight, Fr Skinner said, was an Anzac service, although after Anzac Day, at Bluff. “It was very lovely. The children had produced a number of poems themselves.”

Fr Skinner said he was hosted by a number of parish priests and also by Gerald Scanlan in Dunedin and Dennis Farrelly in Invercargill, the latter a former Marist seminarian.”

Fr Skinner’s tour included the following: Balclutha Youth Camp and parish session; St Patrick’s Basilica, South Dunedin Mass; Dunedin parish and school “Jam for Joy” music workshop, Holy Name Church; Oamaru parish and school “Jam for Joy” music workshop; school and parish concert, Alexandra, St John the Baptist Church; belated Anzac service at the Field of Remembrance in Bluff, followed by a concert with local Catholic school children; Invercargill parish and school music workshop, at St Patrick’s, Georgetown, community hall; Mass at St Patrick’s, Georgetown, Invercargill; Sunday evening Mass at Holy Name Church, Dunedin; Full of Grace in-store CD signing.

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