Last month in Wel-com we read with great interest and a deep sense of awe of Dr Kathy Orr-Nimmo’s remarkable faith journey from Anglican priest to Catholic lay woman to lay pastoral leader for the Wellington Central Pastoral Area.
Kathy was appointed to this position in February and has particular responsibility for St Bernard’s Parish, Brooklyn. She was commissioned at a Mass on Saturday March 8 at St Bernard’s, along with the formal installation of the Wellington Central Pastoral Area Team. With Kathy on the team are Fr Patrick Bridgman, parish priest of St Joseph’s with canonical responsibility for St Bernard’s, and members of the St Mary of the Angels Pastoral Team, parish priest Fr Thige O’Leary SM, Marist Fathers David Kennerley and Chris Skinner, and Sr Frances Gibbs CSB.
The occasion opened a new and exciting chapter for both Kathy and the archdiocese.
During the homily Archbishop John Dew reflected on the gospel reading of the day, of Lazarus being called from his grave to new life in Christ, and that in the same way we and the parishes in the Wellington Central Pastoral Area were being called to that new life.
‘Something in our church has died, some of our ways of being parish have died, we face new arrangements in our parishes as we are faced with fewer priests and establishing pastoral area teams.’
Archbishop John also told of Ezekiel’s vision, speaking to the disheartened people of Israel in captivity, away from their promised lands. In the ‘dry bones’ vision the prophet calls upon the breath or spirit of God to bring life and spirit together as the bones are rejoined.
‘In the same way, I believe that the people of this Wellington Central Pastoral Area are being joined together and are being enlivened by God’s spirit and you will become an even more vibrant and vital part of the church of Wellington.’
This calling to gospel life in a new way was joyfully evident throughout the Mass and the gathering afterwards – the supportive presence of the Marist priests for the team, the strong, beautiful and prayerful karanga by St Bernard’s School pupil, Rebecca Moriarty, the Prayers of the Faithful in English, Māori, Filipino, Korean and Samoan, representing the unique gift of pastoral area community, the combined music groups from the three parishes, joined for the Offertory hymn by Kathy’s son, Christopher Nimmo, on the harp, and the heart-stopping, post-communion song and liturgical dance performed by Fr Chris Skinner and the pupils of St Bernard’s. And above all, the wonderful, melting smile and the clear, sure voice of Kathy (Dr Kathy to the pupils) as she wholeheartedly committed her gifts, energy, knowledge, time and faith to the people of Brooklyn, working collaboratively with the pastoral area team to bring new life to the Wellington Central Pastoral Area.
‘I will put my Spirit in you that you may live. I have promised and I will do it, says the Lord.’
Everyone present that night knew it.
Pictures: Top: Kathy Orr-Nimmo with David, Jeremy and Christopher Nimmo.
Above: Rebecca Moriarty doing the karanga as the official party enter the church.