75 Years of Service Celebrated at the Cathedral

David Loving-Molloy

On Sunday February 18th, 75 years since the Dominican Sisters first began their involvement with the Deaf Community in Wellington, members of the Palmerston North Diocese gathered to farewell the Dominican Sisters from their diocese.

75 years of commitment to a specialized ministry in the Church is a very significant contribution, worthy of suitable recognition by the Bishops and the local Church nationally. Thankfully the wonderful turnout to the farewell and celebrations in Palmerston North was a well-deserved tribute to the dedicated work of the Sisters with the Catholic Deaf community in New Zealand.

The celebrations started with a packed Cathedral of the Holy Spirit for the 9.30am Mass, celebrated by Bishop Charles Drennan. He was assisted by Bishop Peter Cullinane, Bishop Owen Dolan, Msgr Brian Walsh, Fr. Peter Fahy, and Fr. Marcus Francis. The procession was led in by 6 Deaf flag bearers, and the entire liturgy was Signed by members of the local Deaf Community. At the Offertory the Dominican Song ‘Sing of Dominic Joyful Friar’ was Signed by the Deaf Choir.

After Communion Sr. Elizabeth Mackie OP delivered a wonderful address on behalf of the Dominican Sisters, followed by all 15 Dominican Sisters present gathering in the sanctuary to sing a beautiful Waiata.

After Mass the people gathered outside the Deaf Chaplaincy Centre – renamed the St. Dominic’s Catholic Deaf Centre – for the blessing of the new sign by Bishop Charles. The blessing was followed by lunch, during which speeches were given on behalf of the many groups the Dominican Sisters have influenced in their years of service to the diocese. Finally a card was presented to Sr. Maureen O’Hanlon OP, in recognition of her 45 years’ service to the Catholic Deaf community through education and ministry.

The celebrations ended with many group photos taking place inside and outside in the sunny weather.

David Loving-Molloy is the Deaf Chaplain for the Palmerston North Diocese.

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