WelCom December 2017: Nearly 200 people – many who had travelled from various parts of the country – attended a ‘dual’ foundation celebration at St Joseph’s in Picton on Saturday 4 November.
The event marked 100 years since the foundation stone was laid for St Joseph’s Church and 153 years of Catholic Education at St Joseph’s School. Sadly, with only two pupils remaining, the school doors were closed in October this year. But Fr John Pearce cp, parish priest of Star of the Sea Parish, Marlborough, is confident the space will continue to be a source of Catholic learning and education, albeit in a different form. The school will now be known as St Joseph’s Place. ‘We also celebrate the new foundations as a wider parish,’ Fr John said.
A wonderful bi-cultural Liturgy of thanksgiving in the school grounds began with a kāranga led by Whaea Gemma McKinney and Lisa Bhandal. Russell (Barney) Thomas gave a Mihi, past students performed waiata, and Fr John Pearce and Jenny Gordon Vicar for Education Archdiocese of Wellington spoke.
Celebrations continued with lunch at Port Marlborough Pavilion with speakers including Lisa Bhandal a past student and the School Board of Trustees Chair, and Russell Thomas a past student and now a Nelson resident. Lisa Bhandal handed over a statue of St Joseph to parish representative Annette McGruddy – symbolising the passing of the baton for Catholic Education.
Sr Marie Gore and Janice Johnston, past teachers at St Joseph’s School, cut a celebratory cake for the school and parish representatives Miriam Sullivan and Maureen Stewart cut a cake for the church.
After formalities, guests caught up with one another and viewed church and school memorabilia.