By SUE SECONI
In a wonderful spirit of joy, parishioners, religious and clergy of St Joseph’s parish in Dannevirke gathered on the weekend of October 14-15 to salute 125 years since the faith was established in the district by the early settlers in 1898.
Leading into this jubilee weekend from June this year, parishioners held a concert, quiz and movie night, and the final celebration will be an ecumenical blessing of the Advent wreaths on December 2.
Eucharist on the morning of October 14 was celebrated by Bishop John Adams, with concelebrants Bishop Emeritus Peter Cullinane (in his childhood parish), parish priest Fr Marcus Francis, Msgr Brian Walsh, Frs Chris Martin, SM, and Vince Onesi.
Lunch followed in the parish hall and there was the cutting of the jubilee cake, cut jointly by Sr Annette Young, RNDM, and Bishop Adams. Catching the attention on the cake was an edible image of the church. This feature was prepared by Sr Carmel Cole, RNDM. The young voices of the pupils of St Joseph’s School delighted with a bracket of songs. Parishioner Sela Byrne performed a traditional Tongan song and dance item at the conclusion. Then the attention shifted to the historic cemetery, where Fr Francis blessed graves and acknowledged the parish’s forebears.
The next day saw everyone gathered around the altar for Eucharist, and this was followed by morning tea. This cake was made by secondary school student Gemma Barrow, a direct fifth-generation descendent. The chairperson of the pastoral council, Eleanor Roberts, cut the cake.
“It was a wonderful weekend,” said Marie Streeter of the organising committee. She noted that it was the “first official occasion [for] Bishop John since his ordination”.