Earlier this year, St Peter’s Parish, Wairoa, had the privilege of hosting Fr John Rea SM for two weeks.
Fr Rea can sometimes be found at the Marist Centre in Wellington, that is, when he is not engaged in his mission ministry which takes him all around the world.
St Peter’s Parish, Wairoa, was indeed fortunate to obtain the services of this internationally acclaimed presenter. He had to be booked in well over a year ago.
The mission that Fr Rea conducted in Wairoa consisted of home visits, daily Masses, opportunities for reconciliation, personal consultations and liturgies each evening centring on themes like the Holy Spirit, Mary and the Family. St Joseph’s, the local Catholic school, was also included in the mission with Fr Rea proving an absolute hit in every classroom. He is not just a dynamic and masterful presenter of the gospel who has people hanging on his every word (he’d rather I said God’s Word!). Fr Rea can also grab the attention of children from Year 0 to Year 8, using nothing more than a pack of cards and tricks of the hand perfected in his youth.
During Fr Rea’s time in Wairoa, St Peter’s Church and the drop- in centre next door, were abuzz with the many people who came to the mission. They included local parishioners as well as fellow Christians from other faith communities in Wairoa, mainstream and Pentecostal.
Significant to the mission were the healing and prayer sessions that brought each day to a close. A new faith experience for most of the people who took part, the stories that are emerging will keep the mission and Fr Rea foremost in Wairoa for a long time to come.