For the first time, Auckland diocese’s Mass for deceased priests and their celebration of clergy jubilees was combined into one event on November 9. Bishop Patrick Dunn and Bishops Denis Browne and Owen Dolan celebrated Mass with Auckland’s priests at St Patrick’s Church in Panmure.

Then Bishop Dunn led a procession in which the graves of deceased clergy were blessed in the cemetery next to the church. The procession concluded at the grave of Archbishop James Liston.

At the Mass, the following jubilarians were acknowledged: 60 years – Msgr Brian Arahill, Msgr Ray Green, Frs Conrad Bryant, SM, Dave Mullins, SM, and Denzil Meuli;
50 years – Frs Matthew Clerkin, OFM Cap, Neil Darragh, Chris Loughnan, OP, Bruce McGill, CSsR, Terry Montgomery and Justin Taylor, SM; 40 years — Bishop Patrick Dunn, Fr Tim Costello, SM; 25 years — Frs Arul Arokiam, OFM, Andrew Antonio, MF,
Michael Endemann, Iosefo Timu, MF, Stephen Berecz.

The homily at the Mass was preached by Fr Justin Taylor, SM, based on the readings for the Feast of the Dedication of the Lateran Basilica.

The Gospel of the day recounted Jesus casting the money changers and merchants from the Temple precinct in Jerusalem.

Fr Taylor noted that “we must not think that we have domesticated God in a building. Buildings come and buildings go, the Bible tells us, and God is free”.

God would “have us look to his more permanent dwelling place, in his Son and in ourselves”.

“Priests work in temples, even if they can, at times, do without them,” Fr Taylor noted.

“The risk is that priests might become mere administrators of sacred buildings, or mere functionaries of sacred institutions.

“Pope Francis keeps warning about that, but it is a classic theme of preachers and spiritual writers in all ages — how easy it is to grab the shadow and let go of the
substance. To hang on to the symbol without really grasping what is symbolised.

“At a much deeper level than a building and the rites administered there, we priests are called to loving service of Jesus, in whom all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell — and to loving service of his people who are God’s temple and in whom the
spirit of God dwells.

They are the twin poles of our priesthood  . . .”

“The more we really love Jesus, the more we will love and serve his people,” Fr Taylor added.

“And the more we are intent on tending the flock of God, the more we will be drawn into loving friendship with the chief shepherd.”