Several dozen people from throughout Dunedin diocese gathered on the Saturday evening of February 24 for a vigil Mass to celebrate the laying of the foundation stone of St Peter’s church, Omakau, in Central Otago by Bishop James Whyte, some 90 years earlier (on February 26, 1928).

Those at the celebration at Omakau in front of St Peter’s church.

Parishioners processed up the hill from the roadside to the church (about 400 metres) while singing the opening hymn.

When they reached the top, Alexandra parish priest Fr Vaughan Leslie remarked on how singing and walking uphill was quite hard work.

After Mass, the gathering moved to the Omakau Commercial Hotel for evening celebrations. Queenstown parish priest Fr Jamie Lalaguna, MSP and Cromwell/Wanaka parish priest Fr Martin Flannery also attended. Fr Flannery is the only parishioner to have been ordained from the Omakau parish. His ordination to the priesthood was in 1992.