New Zealand : 60 years of mission here and 150th Congregational anniversary
On the 5th September 2015, Aotearoa – New Zealand celebrated 60 years of mission here and our 150th Congregational anniversary.
It was some of these very same “ Voices that have challenged” us over the years and who that day were present helping prepare, set up and provide the entertainment for what turned out to be a very simple, joyous and inclusive LSA family celebration at St John the Evangelist Church and Hall.
We began the Mass of Thanksgiving with the Karanga (Maori calling forth, performed by an Elder Maori Woman) welcoming into the Church the Sisters, 5 Priests and 4 Bishops, followed by the singing of “All Creation is shouting for JOY”.
At the invitation of Bishop Pat, Sr. Marie Francoise expressed her joy at being present for this double celebration, and thanked God for the presence of each one, and the hope that we always work for the growth of all People.
Bishop Patrick Dunn (Auckland) was the main celebrant and Bishop Denis Browne (whom we have known since coming to Auckland in 1970), gave the homily. Various parts of the Mass were in English, Maori, Tongan and Samoan, along with the prayers of the faithful which reflected the richness of the diverse cultures present. The Youth Choir did themselves proud. For the responsorial psalm everyone present (all 600 people), joined in singing “Voices that Challenge” – it was a very moving and powerful message.
After Mass - over to the beautifully decorated hall where each sister was given a lei. It was a time of renewing friendships with many families/friends that the Sisters had encountered over the years. The entertainment that our families performed (from the 3 neighbourhoods we are involved with), was spectacular. Eventually everyone was up dancing – including our two guests from France – Marie Francoise, International Leader and Mary from the International Leadership Team. Just looking around the hall and seeing all the people smiling and enjoying themselves - so happy, was truly a gift for which we are so thankful to God.
Prior to the celebration at one of our regular Community meetings, we spoke of the first Sisters who came from Ireland, France and U.S.A. and their faith, courage and pioneering spirits. We thank them for bringing the Charism to New Zealand and for all the life they shared here with our people.
LSA COMMUNITY, AUCKLAND, NZ.
After the Mass, a festive meal followed by different activities by the local people from the three parishes in Auckland. Here, is Tongan dance symbolizing the generosity of the people on behalf of the Little Sisters