by PETER GRACE
AUCKLAND — Takapuna parishioner Maurice Boland was honoured with a papal knighthood at St Joseph’s church, Takapuna, on April 21.
Mr Boland was chairman of the World Youth Day committee in Auckland, which organised activities for young people before WYD in Sydney 2008.
He told NZ Catholic that he thought his investiture, with the Order of St Gregory the Great, was for more than just that involvement.
“I think it’s mainly being involved with the Church from a very early age, and having consistent faith throughout,” he said.
He said his mother taught her children to say the Rosary every night during the month of May.
Mr Boland was born in Christchurch in 1933 and educated at St Bede’s College. He was involved with Young Catholic Students and represented the college in rugby, athletics, tennis and swimming.
His Church involvement since then has included the Catholic Youth Movement, Marist rugby, the Christian Family Movement and the St Bede’s College Old Boy’s Association.
He and his wife, Helen, had been parishioners at Takapuna for 45 years, Mr Boland said,
although he still has some allegiance to Canterbury.
“When North Harbour beat Canterbury for the Ranfurly Shield a couple of years ago, I was asked who did I back. . . . I said I backed Canterbury for the first half, and North Harbour for the second half!”
He continued his service for education in Auckland, with work for St Joseph’s Primary School and Rosmini College in Takapuna, and as diocesan project chairman for the establishment of Stella Maris Primary School at Silverdale, and the future secondary school there.
Other Auckland diocese roles have included the administration board, finance and property committees, St Columba Centre, Holy Cross Seminary and the Catholic Caring Foundation. He facilitated the journey of the reliquary of St Therese to New Zealand and was MC for the Little Sisters of the Poor on the occasion of the canonisation of their founder.
With respect to the award, Mr Boland said it was very humbling. “You wonder if you deserve it,” he said. “But I have had a lot of cards and emails, and bouquets and flowers have arrived,” he said.
Mr Boland was diagnosed with cancer last June. He said that news made him wonder if he would weaken in his faith. “My faith was enhanced; my faith in people was more apparent; and their generosity of prayers and support, Catholic or non-Catholic, was greatly appreciated.”
At his investiture, Mr Boland acknowledged another stalwart of the diocese, Geoff Ricketts, who is also to receive a papal knighthood.
Mr and Mrs Boland have six children and 15 grandchildren.