by LYNDSAY FREER
On Sunday February 15, several hundred parishioners of St Michael’s parish, Remuera, gathered
with Msgr Brian Arahill’s family and friends to farewell him as he retired from 59 years of active ministry in Auckland diocese.
There were speeches from Bishop Patrick Dunn and parishioners, and items and accolades from parishioners and staff and pupils of St Michael’s Catholic Primary School. It was an emotional time, not only for Msgr Arahill, but for the parish where he has ministered for more than 25 years.
A 20-page A4 booklet with tributes and colour photos covering his ministry was distributed
to all parishioners as a souvenir of his years as parish priest of St Michael’s.
Msgr Arahill has moved to an apartment in St Jean Vianney House for retired clergy, but it
appears his “retirement” promises to be reasonably active, given his energy and wide circle of friends and colleagues.
In a tribute to Msgr Arahill, Bishop Dunn paid the following tribute: “Retiring from years in ministry is a difficult time for any priest, and when that ministry has been as active and varied as that of Msgr Brian over 59 years, it is even more so.
“Mons Brian has brought great gifts to his ministry in these 59 years. His dedicated service has not been confined to parish ministry, but to many other areas of the life of the diocese of Auckland and beyond.
“He is the longest-serving priest in any parish of the diocese at present, having been at St Michael’s for 25 years. One of his outstanding gifts that I admire so greatly is his hospitality. This has been a feature of his ministry both at St Patrick’s Cathedral (where he
was administrator for 18 years) and at St Michael’s. I have no idea how many priests and
seminarians he has welcomed and had staying at the parish house, offering them care and companionship. St Paul speaks about the importance of hospitality in our lives (Romans 12:13).
“Over the years Mons Brian has been the director of liturgy for the diocese, he was a coordinator of the national liturgical celebrations for the visit of Pope John Paul II, a
well-known broadcaster, a member of the diocesan vocations team and the Council of Priests
and, possibly not known to many, is the counselling and assistance he has given to people suffering from addictions.
“It remains for me to express to him my deepest thanks and admiration, and pray that although he is ‘retiring’ from the administrative and the other burdens of being a 24/7 parish priest, he may continue to offer his gifts to the diocese in a different capacity. And I pray also that he will be blessed with health, peace and an opportunity to enjoy some well-earned rest and recreation.”