For the first time since Palmerston North diocese was formed in 1980, the annual jubilarians Mass of Thanksgiving was celebrated away from the Cathedral of the Holy Spirit.
The Catholic Parish of Whanganui — Te Parihi Katorika Ki Whanganui hosted the Mass in St Mary’s church on September 18. A combined 220 years of priestly ministry was celebrated.

Msgr John Carde, who travelled from Wellington, Fr Earl Crotty, SM, from Hawkes Bay and Fr Harry Costello from Whanganui all marked 60 years. Fr John Roberts from Whanganui celebrated 40 years.

It was fitting that they returned “home” given the significant connections to Whanganui. The occasion coincided with the diocesan clergy-only day.

“It was a wonderful day. The most ‘simple’ yet the most ‘profound’ in terms of honest sharing and the sense of encouragement, support and fraternity that was experienced,” said Bishop Charles Drennan at the start of Mass.

Msgr Carde and Fr Crotty were both born in Whanganui and were ordained together on July 17, 1958 in the old St Mary’s church then situated in the city’s main street Victoria Avenue.

Msgr Carde’s life as a priest has involved Maori mission, being an army chaplain in Singapore and Vietnam and parish ministry, up to his retirement to Paraparaumu.

Jubilarians Mass in Whanganui a first Fr Crotty worked in secondary education in New Zealand and the United States, before embarking on parish ministry in the North and South Islands and then retiring to Taradale in 2013.

Fr Costello came to New Zealand from Ireland in the 1950s and his priestly ministry has included parish and hospital chaplaincy work.

Fr Roberts still works in St Mary’s parish in Whanganui. He also became a chaplain to St John Ambulance and is currently district chaplain.

The evening concluded with a photo shoot and wine and nibbles.

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