12 August 2008
Fifty years of priesthood, what an achievement and a great celebration! Although Mons. John has only been in St Patrick’s parish for a short time, we have come to appreciate his warmth, his sincerity and his great faith, which reaches out to many walks of life. We learned that he had served in many parishes in the archdiocese as well as being chaplain to the army for a number of years including one year in Vietnam.
Our parish celebration started with Mass attended by Cardinal Tom Williams, representing Archbishop John Dew, Msgr John’s brother Fr Peter Carde from Taumaranui and two of his fellow priests from his seminary days, not forgetting the parish priest Fr Michael McCabe. The honoured guests were welcomed to the Mass by Māori parishioners with a karanga or ceremonial call performed only by the women of the iwi. This was followed by a hongi in which the hosts formally greet their visitors by pressing noses. In this traditional greeting, the ha or breath of life is exchanged and intermingled.
Family members were well represented along with many parishioners from past parishes, and friends from the army.
Two hundred invited guests were treated to a banquet organised by a number of women from the parish, with parishioners providing food for the occasion. The Kapiti Bowling Club was decked out in full catering style and the parish music group provided non-stop music.
We heard speeches and anecdotes from both Msgr John’s church family and his natural family from which his niece Katherine Colson said he couldn’t escape.
Thank you Msgr John for being part of our parish family.