There was audience enthusiasm as never before in Johnsonville last month when the religious sisters put on a concert for local World Youth Day pilgrims.
Even before the final rehearsal enthusiastic fans were queuing at Ss Peter and Paul church for the March 14 concert.
What a superb audience. They clapped, cheered, whistled and laughed all the way through.
‘The night proved to be a musical feast. A comedy duo par excellence, Frs Chris Skinner and Thige O’Leary sm, opened the show with Irish wit and song.
The instigators of Sisters Act sang three brackets of songs during the evening, each time accompanied superbly by David Dobson. Christina MacIver, who often leads the singing during parish liturgies, delighted us with famous Irish and Scottish lyrics, while Sr Josepha, who recited one of John O’Brien’s very long narrative poems, amazed us with her fantastic memory.
Members of the Focolare Group sang two gentle spiritual songs – then surprised us with a third very energetic number from the original Sister Act! Visitors from the Hutt—RNDM Sisters Bich Thu and Minh Trang from Vietnam and Than Than from Myanmar sparkled in their national costumes and won the hearts of all with two simply beautiful dances. Lelei, very nervous and looking stunning lead us in a Samoan faigasiva. And Cenacle sisters Anne and Clare and Connie rndm sang like angels.
Towards the end of the programme we recalled the reason for our concert—the WYD pilgrimage to Sydney. We had decided that with two diamond and four golden jubilarians in our group most of us were too old to go but we wanted to support the young ones. A local Marcel Marceau (aka Catherine Jones smsm) begged, borrowed, charmed and shrugged her way through a variety of fundraising woes and the vagaries of NZ customs.
The Filipino community told of the 1995 WYD in Manila in which they were involved. They then prayed and sang a very beautiful despedida—farewell blessing—for the Johnsonville young ones. Last of all we called forward our pilgrims and blessed them on their way to Sydney with an Irish blessing. They responded with a spirited haka of gratitude.
We banked more than $2000, but our real joy came from fulfilling our dream—that we who are older were able to show real support and love for our young people. Our heartfelt thanks to all whose generosity backed our dream!
Cyprian, Francis, Anne cbs; Josepha rsj; Clare, Anne, Kathleen, Mary rc; Connie rndm; Roxane, Margaret, Judith op: the sisters of Sisters Act