The annual diocesan Mass for those celebrating jubilees of presbyteral ordination in the Diocese of Palmerston North this year was held at the Cathedral of the Holy Spirit on November 30.
The Mass was celebrated with Bishop Peter Cullinane presiding and with Cardinal John Dew, Bishop Owen Dolan, Fr Craig Butler, Monsignor Brian Walsh and many other clergy in the diocese concelebrating.
The five jubilees that were celebrated were Bishop Peter Cullinane (60 years), Fr David Moore, SM (60 years), Fr Arthur Toothill, SM (50 years), Fr Marcus Francis (20 years) and Fr Manoj Mathew, IC (10 years). Not all these were in attendance at the Mass. Br Kevin Dobbyn, FMS, who is celebrating 50 years of religious profession this year, was also present for the celebration.
During his homily, Bishop Cullinane said that “jubilees of ordination are times for remembering”.
Hr shared two stories from his own life that for him highlight the giftedness of God’s presence in our lives. One of these stories was about a visit he had as bishop to St Joseph’s School in Dannevirke, the school he had attended. He had told the students gathered about how his grandmother made it possible for him to attend school, despite the long journey required every day. Bishop Cullinane said, “the lesson in this story for all of us is to listen to our grandparents because we never quite know what God might be wanting to say”. The bishop spoke of how, many years after his ordination, he was told that, while a friend was visiting his grandmother when she was unwell, she had said that she was certain that the young Peter would be a priest.
Bishop Cullinane said that the “communion of saints is where we go for our remembering. Our personal histories are in them, our belonging is in them, our identity is in them”.
Finally, he spoke on behalf of all priests, especially those celebrating Jubilees, saying that “what has enabled us to carry on . . . and empowered us in our ministry . . . is the people that we serve in the parishes. It is in their faith and hopes and love and sacrifices and joys and sorrows and struggles that we meet our own calling, and find ourselves lifted up, as if on eagle’s wings.”
“The occasion of Jubilee is an occasion of remembering and therefore a time of giving thanks.” With that in mind, Bishop Cullinane finished by asking all of the priests gathered to join him in acknowledging their indebtedness to the people to whom they have served, and by whom they have been nurtured. He said, “I refer therefore to the whole consecrated, saintly, motley, lovely, People of God”.
- By DIOCESE OF PALMERSTON NORTH COMMUNICATIONS TEAM