by PETER GRACE
AUCKLAND — Service over 20 years with the Apostolate of the Sea has led to a papal award for Philip Dromgool of Auckland.
Mr Dromgool was invested with the Benemerenti Medal and certificate at the vigil Mass of St John the Baptist Church in Parnell
on May 17.
Mr Dromgool told NZ Catholic later that he has been involved
with the apostolate for about 20 years.
The three men on the altar at the Mass are also involved with
the apostolate. Celebrant Fr Jeff Drane,SM, is Archbishop
John Dew’s deputy for the work. Assisting him was Fr Kevin
Head, SM, head of the Wellington branch.
And the homilist, Deacon Sid Wells, works for the apostolate in
In his homily, Deacon Wells said he tells volunteers that they
are the face of Christ.
“These are the people who know the love of God, and they know
that by bringing God to others, they are evangelising — and all this
evangelising is done from their hearts.” This work, Deacon Wells said, helps seafarers and seafarers’ families.
Four years ago Mr Dromgool was appointed to the management of the
Auckland International Seafarers Centre in Quay St, visiting ships, taking seafarers to Mass at the cathedral and supporting seafarers when required.
Supporting Mr Dromgool on his special occasion were members of
the Auckland branch of the apostolate, seven of whom read the Prayers of the Faithful. Also present, from Australia, was the
Oceania regional coordinator for the Apostolate of the Sea, Sister Mary Leahy, RSJ. In 2012, she was awarded the Order
of Australia Medal for her apostolate work over 20 years.
Mr Dromgool is also active in the Legion of Mary. At St Michael’s parish, Remuera, he helps aged and infirm parishioners.
Every Sunday he picks up those parishioners and brings them to
10am Mass, then delivers them back home afterwards.
He is also a collector at Sunday Masses.
After the vigil Mass Mr Dromgool, Auckland branch members and
other supporters had a celebratory dinner at a nearby hotel.
— Additional reporting by Eva Banda