4 December 2012
Stokes Valley parish celebrated its golden jubilee on November 11 with Archbishop John Dew reminding those gathered for the celebration Mass that the parish opened when Pope John XXIII was pope and ‘was probably one of the first in the country to be established during the Second Vatican Council’.
Pope John spoke of a parish as a ‘village fountain’ – a place where people come to be nourished, fed, to meet others and to find community support and friendship.
Archbishop John asked people how they could make St Francis Xavier parish a place where people ‘want to come to drink, to be inspired by God’s Word, to be fed with the Eucharist, to be a community who support and care for each other’.
He spoke of how the parish had adopted the renewal that Vatican II wrought in involving people as commentators, readers, Eucharistic ministers and servers, collectors and participants in the offertory procession.
‘People active on the parish council, liturgy and finance committees, St Vincent de Paul, parish Renew programme, RCIA and CCD, Women’s fellowship, prayer groups, youth groups and cubs – these were all the fruits of the renewal of parish life and liturgy, the collaboration of laity with clergy in the mission of the church as it was asked for by the council.
‘All of that … renewal and new energy is called for again at this time of jubilee. It is time to … celebrate and re-fresh this “village fountain”.’
Archbishop John also paid tribute to the parish’s special bicultural relationship with tangata whenua through the community Koraunui marae and with the Samoan community ‘who bring life and energy to the parish’.
The parish’s relationship with St Philip’s Anglican community has also been important. This community opened its church to the Catholics while their church was being built and made a donation to the ciborium in 1962.
Some parishioners have visited the Buddhist Monastery in Stokes Valley in the past few months recognising the church’s call to be open to those of other faiths, ‘to grow in our knowledge of their beliefs and to find ways that we can work together for the good of all people’
As with the widow’s mite of the gospel [Mk 12:42-44], ‘we may not think we are able to do very much; it may seem as if we have only “a few small coins” to offer, yet that is all we are asked to give. When [we all contribute] to the life of the parish, we will be renewing and refreshing this “village fountain” and others will come to drink.’
Photos by Mary-Ann Greaney
1 Margaret Lanigan has been a key figure in Stokes Valley for many years.
2 Pastoral council chair Chris Henley presents a congratulatory gift to Fr Andrew Kim Inseok to mark his ordination two days earlier.
3 Former parish priests Jim Davis.
4 Catechist Tuaiao
and his wife Kolotita So’otaga.
5 St Brendan’s DRS Kate Hey.
6 Srs Loyola and Regina.
7 Former parish priest Joe Keegan, left, with Archbishop John.