by JEFF DILLON
DUNEDIN — The southern most Polish-built church, formerly at Allanton south of Dunedin but now at Broad Bay on the Otago Peninsula, was the focus of a joyous occasion as the canonisation of Pope John Paul II was celebrated on April 27.
A Mass organised by the Polish Heritage of Otago and Southland Charitable Trust was celebrated at Mary Queen Of Peace Church by retired Bishop Len Boyle and Fr Merv Hanifin for a congregation
of mainly descendants of the original Polish settlers who built the church in the 1870s, or recent Polish emigrants.
Bishop Boyle had met Pope John Paul II on his formal ad limina visits to Rome as the then bishop of Dunedin. The pope always
remembered him as the bishop who came from the farthest away diocese on the globe.
In his homily Bishop Boyle reflected on the message of hope and mercy.
The canonisation of two popes at this stage is the consequence
of the legacy reflected in the decisions of the Second Vatican Council called by Pope John XXIII and continued by Pope
John Paul II, he said.
The Prayers of the Faithful continued that theme and the message of Cardinal Karol Wojtyla who said “Be not afraid” and who, as pope, was instrumental in bringing down the Iron Curtain.
After Mass the congregation had a cup of tea and some of John Paul II’s favourite baked cheesecake and other Polish delicacies.