WelCom News
A newspaper for the Wellington and Palmerston North Catholic Dioceses

Celebrating 300 issues of Wel-com

Features

Cecily McNeill
7 November 2012
 
altWel-com’s masthead as it appeared on its first issue, September, 1984. Click here for a selection of past front covers.
 
 
For 300 issues, Wel-Com readers in the Wellington Archdiocese and later in the Palmerston North Diocese have had the benefit of a free monthly diocesan newspaper.
 
Cardinal Tom Williams asked Fr Bernie Hehir to start the newspaper in 1984 and in September a small bi-monthly newspaper appeared, for free circulation throughout the parishes.
 
Wel-Com had its beginnings much earlier, though, with the archdiocese becoming increasingly concerned at the gaps in diocesan information available to parishioners in the mid-1970s.
 
Early in 1984, with Cardinal Tom’s enthusiastic support, Wel-Com went ahead with Patrick Scrimshaw as advertising and production manager and Fr Bernie as editor.
 
The newsletter turned into an eight-page tabloid newspaper with a new set of challenges and Fr Bernie describes, in the June 1987 issue, the moment he saw the first issue as an experience ‘that helped me appreciate Jesus’ words to the disciples at the Last Supper: “…but your sorrow will turn to joy. A woman in childbirth suffers because her time has come; but when she has given birth to the child, she forgets her suffering in her joy that a man has been born into the world”.
 
‘As the infant paper grew, we suffered the succession of joys and pains that most parents experience.’
 
As well as sharing news around the diocese, Cardinal Williams wanted progress reports on the cathedral project and diocesan finances published.
 
Wel-Com became a monthly, 20-page tabloid within two years and, by the 150th issue, the print run had risen to 24,400 after the PN Diocese started taking it in 1998.

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Archbishop John Dew received his pallium from Pope Benedict in May 2005.


 
altFounding editor of Wel-com Fr Bernie Hehir and Marilyn Pryor, who assumed editorship during the 1990s until 2005, celebrating 150 issues.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
altBishop Peter Cullinane the first Bishop of Palmerston North when the diocese was created in 1980. Bishop Peter relinquished his 31-year leadership of the diocese in November 2011. Wel-com has covered the Palmerston North Diocese since 1998.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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Since its inception, Wel-com’s pages have been peppered with photos of parish and school groups from throughout the two dioceses. Here is a group from Sacred Heart Parish, Petone, from May, 2004.

 
 
 
 
 
altRev Edrich Corban-Banks, Cushla and Dr Joseph Hassan, Mgr John Carde, Fr Pat McCullough, Faye Ruddenklau and Phyll Harris in Nelson in 2004 to discuss crisis pregnancy. The voluntary organisation Crisis Pregnancy Support was established in Nelson around this time to support mothers and to share the many issues that make continuing a pregnancy seem impossible. Mgr Carde spoke about Project Rachel which has helped many women with post-abortion healing since 1991.
 
 
altNew Launch Out candidates Malia Vito-Tupai, Victoria Raw and Karen Holland, in early 2004. Launch Out was established in the archdiocese to form lay pastoral leaders to work alongside priests in pastoral areas. It takes its mandate from Vatican II’s priesthood of all believers [1Peter 2:5-9] and the council’s embracing of lay leadership as a way forward. Seven lay pastoral leaders have been appointed in the past seven years in parishes, as hospital and prison chaplains, and in the Samoan Chaplaincy.

 
 
altPriests on loan from Tonga, Frs Mateo Kivalu and Viliami ‘Ita’ Koloamatangi (2004). Fr Ita returned to Tonga after a short time but Fr Mateo has stayed and assumed a pastoral role in the Wellington South Pastoral Area. He is now parish priest in Island Bay. As the Church tries to ensure that everyone has regular access to the Mass, more priests are coming from the Philippines, India, Samoa, Tonga, Tokelau and other Pacific Islands. To some extent this reflects the growing proportions of the population from these nations but immigrant priests mostly work with the general Catholic populace in parishes and pastoral areas.
 
 
 
altYear 13 students from archdiocesan colleges in early 2004 exploring what Christian leadership is about in the second annual Leadership Forum run by the ADW Youth and Young Adult Ministry. Students were able to find out over two days of fun how leadership worked in their schools and in society generally. Many students have had the benefit of these forums in the ensuing 12 years.

 
 
 
 
 
altThe Catholic Women’s League in Pahiatua hosted the diocesan conference in March 2004. Margaret O’Connor, Ellen Oliver, Margaret Treder, Geraldine Scott and Sr John Bosco were on the top table.

 
 
 

altSynod 2006: The overall theme of the synod was ‘Salt and Light Together’ from Mt 5:13-16 and focused on six themes: education and lifelong growth in faith; ministry and local leadership; social justice; community; liturgy, prayer and spirituality; and youth and young adults. The synod’s 350 delegates were chosen by their parishes throughout the archdiocese and an ‘appreciative enquiry’ process undertaken in parishes to discern the issues that most concerned people. These were then fed into the synod design and the themes realised. Wel-Com’s June issue was delayed so that it could carry photos and stories from the event. Here, the oldest attendee, Georgina Ao Marere, celebrated her 90th birthday during the Pentecost weekend of the synod. She is with Makuini Johnson (left) and Irene Mackle from St Mary’s Otaki. Georgina has since died. RIP.
 
 
altHine Gordon (Aunty Nin), Sam Jackson, Morrie Love, Honiana Love and Koro Tamarapa. Honiana is holding a picture of Te Atiawa chief Wi Tako for a service of reconciliation, healing and commitment at Korokoro cemetery in April 2004. Te Atiawa chief Honiana Te Puni granted the land to Bishop Viard in 1853 for use as a Catholic cemetery. The cemetery was closed in 1956 and, with headstones removed, few people know that the land is sacred. At the memorial service, Cardinal Tom Williams apologised to the Te Atiawa people for not always honouring the responsibilities for the cemetery over the past 150 years.