3 December 2011
A weekend of celebrations marked 60 years of Our Lady of Grace parish and 50 years of St Brendan’s school in Heretaunga on the last weekend of October.
Hundreds of parishioners and former parishioners and friends packed the Heretaunga church for three Masses of Thanksgiving.
The church was decorated with the flags of 35 nations, reflecting the diversity of the parish family.
Archbishop John Dew presented long-serving parishioners Tony Packer and John McDiarmid with papal blessings for their services to the parish.
‘Our Lady of Grace is a thriving parish, due to the devotion and participation of faithful parishioners and is in good heart as it celebrates its diamond jubilee,’ says Jan Williams who, with Paul Blumsky, is updating the parish history from 10 years ago.
Archbishop John also accepted as a candidate for ordination Korean seminarian Andrew Kim who is serving in the parish. This was greeted by prolonged applause.
Fr Kevin Connors, a foundation pupil of St Brendan’s remembered the school for its family atmosphere which continues to this day.
Principal Libby Hainsworth and parish priest Fr David Dowling presented each other with framed pictures of St Brendan and our Lady of Grace to acknowledge the special relationship between school and parish.
Many were delighted to catch up with the SMSM (Marist Missionary) Sisters who attended, some of whom staffed St Brendan’s from 1961 to 1973.
Celebrations included a formal dinner and dance at Trentham Racecourse and School Mass attended by former principals.
Images: Above: parishioners at the jubilee Mass. Right: Frs James Lyons, left, and Brian Fletcher, right, with current parish priest David Dowling.