Whanganui priest Fr John Roberts was honoured and humbled to become a member of the Order of St John at a North Island investiture ceremony on July 2. At St Patrick’s Cathedral in Auckland, Governor General Sir Jerry Mateparae admitted Fr Roberts to the order and presented him with its medal.

The priest’s dedication and service as Whanganui area chaplain and chairman of the Whanganui St John Area Committee were acknowledged.

Fr Roberts became chaplain in 2011.

He offers emotional and spiritual support to any of the 100 St John personnel in an area which includes Whanganui, Raetihi, Ohakune, Taihape and Marton.

“Supporting all staff, it’s difficult for particularly ambulance staff involved in horrific traffic accidents. This has a huge impact on them,” he said.

Fr Roberts finds himself “at-home” with St John, given his parents were both doctors and he has parish responsibilities for the pastoral care of the elderly.

The priest supports a range of front line services including the ambulance service, shuttles to Palmerston North Hospital, first aid training courses, the caring caller scheme as well as the
recently opened opportunity shop.

Next year Whanganui will host the St John national youth festival.

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