On Sunday, April 13 Mary-Anne Peetz was installed as Wellington West lay pastoral leader, in a celebration Mass at Sacred Heart Cathedral.
As well, Archbishop John Dew commissioned Mary-Anne, with Frs James Lyons, Seph Pijfers and Bernie Hehir, the priest in residence at St Teresa’s, to form the pastoral area team to serve the Wellington West Pastoral Area. Father Lyons has principal pastoral responsibility for the cathedral parish, Father Pijfers for Karori, while Mary-Anne will be responsible for St Vincent de Paul parish, Northland-Wilton, based at St Thomas More church.
Archbishop John told the congregation that as a lay person Mary-Anne was an important equal part of the pastoral area team working to enable all to collaborate and cooperate more fully.
Parish and school representatives wearing identifying coloured sashes were called into the cathedral, with a karanga and the putatara, through separate entrances to symbolise the coming together of the parishes as a new pastoral area.
Also present were Mary-Anne’s Launch Out colleagues and other lay leaders. Mary-Anne’s husband, Gerhard, and their family accompanied her.
Archbishop John said Mary-Anne has long been active in St Vincent de Paul parish. He recalled that she had been in prayer and scripture study groups and the parish’s liturgy committee and had acted as cantor and leader in the parish music group. He noted that she had had a long career in nursing, finishing as a senior nurse in charge of a unit at Bowen Hospital which called on her skills in responding to the needs of others and in administration.
He then asked Mary-Anne if she was ready and willing to give herself in service to the church as full-time lay pastoral leader serving the people of the Wellington West Pastoral Area, committing herself to serve in the humble manner of Jesus, to be responsible to the Body of Christ, and resolving to offer her talents, time and energy for the building up of these communities of faith.
To all these questions Mary-Anne answered clearly that she was ready, willing and resolved.
We Northland-Wilton parishioners stood and gave a loud and heartfelt affirmation that we will support Mary-Anne in her mission among us. We know well the many responsibilities that she had already taken on and how much this has enhanced the life of our parish.
Then at Archbishop John’s invitation all the congregation raised their hands in blessing as he laid his hands on Mary-Anne’s head and prayed that the Holy Spirit would give blessing and power to her ministry. He gave her a cross as a symbol of her commitment to church and community.
There followed a ceremony establishing the pastoral area where we promised to work together to support the pastoral and sacramental care of our leaders.
Before the installation Archbishop John Dew emphasised that Mary-Anne’s installation was not out of necessity. Recalling an ecumenical gathering where he had been moved by a woman’s anguish as to whether she was called by God, he was reminded that all laity and clergy are called to work together as church.
The cathedral was a fitting venue, being the original starting place of the parishes and churches that have now combined with it to become the Wellington West Pastoral Area. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries priests from the then Sacred Heart Basilica and Sisters of Mercy in the nearby St Mary’s Convent offered pastoral services and catechism classes in centres at Karori and Northland which later became the parishes of St Teresa, Karori, and St Vincent de Paul, Northland.
Until the 1970s when they became parishes in their own right, St Brigid, Wadestown, and St Thomas More, Wilton, were part of the cathedral parish. St Thomas More church eventually became the church for the St Vincent de Paul, Northland-Wilton parish.
Christopher Reid is a parishioner of St Vincent de Paul, Northland-Wilton, and a member of the Wellington West Pastoral Area Council.