by PETER GRACE
If you want to sell tickets to a Catholic event, advertise the Bishop of Auckland.
That, at least, might be one reading of a fundraising event on St Patrick’s Day — High Tea with Bishop Patrick Dunn at $25 a head, or $180 for a table of eight.
Cathedral secretary Rebecca Knibb told NZ Catholic that there were “about 100-odd” tickets for the event, and all were gone a week before.
The proceeds of the afternoon were for the Cathedral Heritage Foundation.
The Liston Room, in Liston House opposite the cathedral, was transformed into “the Green Room” for the afternoon, with most attendees sporting some kind of Irish-themed regalia.
Three priests — Fr Peter Tipene, Fr Larry Rustia and Msgr Bernard Kiely — provided the main part of the entertainment, singing popular Irish songs, and others besides.
One of the tables, a group of eight friends, invited NZ Catholic’s journalist to join them.
They’d started earlier in the day with breakfast at Florrie McGreal’s on the North Shore, they said. Then they’d
caught a ferry back to the city for Mass at the cathedral, followed by the High Tea.
“And then we’re going to the Shakespeare” — the tavern — to listen the band there: the “Plastic Paddies”, from Waiheke Island.
“We’ve been doing this for 20 years,” Laureen Simmonds, explained, although membership of the group had changed a bit. Three of the originals had died, including her mother, Rita Corboy.
One of the group, Carol Ryan, said she flies up from Wellington every March 17 for the day out. But Kay Durney is from even further away — Adelaide.
Colleen Perreau achieved something special — she got NZ Catholic’s nondancer up for an Irish jig.
Carol Ryan summed up the whole High Tea experience. “This is the best ever. What are we going to do for our next trick?”