WelCom February 2024
Celebrating Eucharist at 5.30pm Mass followed by a shared meal on Sunday 26 November 2023, were among the highlights marking 125 years of Catholic faith shared by early settlers to present-day parishioners at Eketahuna’s Sacred Heart Parish in the Tararua District.
Parish priest Fr Marcus Francis and Monsignor Brian Walsh from Palmerston North celebrated Mass. Fr Bernard O’Donnell was also present along with many guests at the special celebrations. People came from near and far to attend, including parishioners from the Tararua Parish area, as well as many former parishioners who travelled from as far as Timaru, Oamaru, Waihi, Taupo, Tauroa, Wellington, Palmerston North, Fielding, and the wider Wairarapa.
A display of memorabilia showcasing photos took parishioners down memory lane, particularly three banners depicting the three different church buildings.
The evening’s programme was thoughtfully planned with parishioner Paul Bailey as the popular MC keeping the celebrations on schedule and everyone entertained.
Special appreciation was credited to floral arranger Catherine Bailey for her beautiful creations, which enhanced the atmosphere of the occasion.
After dinner, local parish historian John Harman, who was for 60 years a parishioner and resident of this small rural settlement, gave a brief history especially around the present church built in 1983, as multi-purpose. The design became a trail blazer for other parishes.
Near-90-year-old Peter McKenna cut the centenary cake. Peter’s great uncle Fr Don McKenna was the first parish priest.
This is the second church in Tararua Parish to celebrate 125 years of faith. Dannevirke marked theirs in October last year.