A recent Sunday Mass at St Theresa’s Parish in Plimmerton featured a very special celebration.

For the past 25 years, Rob and Lynn Hill have coordinated the Passionist Family Movement in New Zealand as national directors.

On August 28, they transitioned their leadership to the new national director team of John and Mary Ellen Leen of Wellington, and Paul and Linda Darbyshire of Palmerston North.

The Passionist Family Group Movement has been active in New Zealand since Paeroa parish invited  the Passionists into their midst in 1988. It continued to grow to a point where, at its height, there were 45,000 members in family groups in New Zealand.

At the August 28 Mass in Plimmerton, from the opening hymn to the final blessing, the congregation was drawn into common union to celebrate with Fr Brian Traynor, CP, and Fr Tom McDonough, CP, the Passionist provincial who visited from Australia.

Fr McDonough proclaimed from Luke’s Gospel which began with the words: “Jesus went to dine at the home of one of the leading Pharisees, and the people there were observing him carefully”.

On August 28, the congregation observed a priest very carefully and were drawn into this parable.

Fr McDonough took a place in front of the altar and proclaimed, word for word, from memory. Massgoers believed it was a blessing it was to witness a beautiful proclamation of the Gospel of the Lord.

Members of Passionist Family Groups, from Plimmerton and further afield, shared their gifts in various ministries, and the new leaders were commissioned by the two priests and Rob and Lynn Hill.