Sian Owen rsj
29 March 2012
March 17, 2012 marked 140 years since the first Catholic Mass was celebrated in the settlement that would become Palmerston North.
It was also the day the local Catholic diocesan community gathered around their bishops.
They gathered to install the second bishop of the diocese Charles Drennan and to give thanks for the 32 years of faithful, loving service of the first bishop of the diocese Peter Cullinane.
The Cathedral of the Holy Spirit was packed as Bishop Charles was called into the church.
His entry was supported by pupils from Hāto Hōhepa Māori Girls’ College and St Peter’s College.
Māori have given Bishop Charles the title ‘Pihopa O Nga Rangatahi’ which means the Bishop for young people so it was fitting that young people played a significant part in the celebrations.
After Bishop Charles had been led to sit in the cathedra and handed his crozier, he stood to one side of the sanctuary. Opposite him stood Bishop Peter wearing the korowai.
With great reverence two pupils of Hāto Paora College removed the korowai from around Bishop Peter’s shoulders and handed it to pupils of Hāto Hōhepa. These young women then placed the korowai around Bishop Charles.
The wrapping of the korowai signifies a mutual embrace of love and respect – of Bishop Charles for his people and the people for Bishop Charles.
During the homily Bishop Peter thanked the ‘lovely, motley People of God’ for their challenges, companionship and love.
In speeches of farewell and thanks during the lunch after Mass, the lovely, motley People of the Palmerston North Diocese shared stories and memories of the challenges, companionship and love that they had shared with Bishop Peter.
It was a great day of thanksgiving.