A Catholic Monthly Magazine

Southern Pilgrimage

CDC 2014 Participate in The Marist Experience 

By James Peppping 

As part of their curriculum, each year the students at the Catholic Discipleship College make a northern and southern pilgrimage to places of significance to the Catholic Church in Aotearoa. These explorations of our church history are also opportunities for our students to make connections with local communities beyond Auckland and undertake outreach activities such as running sessions and giving testimonies in school and youth groups.

On our Southern Pilgrimage this year many groups gave us warm welcomes, for example ICPE, the Knights of the Southern Cross and the Magnificat Community. We also enjoyed a lovely dinner with the Marist Administration Community in Wellington where we were able to re-connect with Fr Neil Vaney.

James Pepping, one of this year’s students, tells of the highlights of meeting Fr Paddy Kinsella and his experience of the Maryknoll Community in Greenmeadows.

Fr Paddy explains

Fr Paddy explains

“The first impression Fr Paddy made on me was when we he opened his car boot and pulled out A3 sheets full of photos and articles. He spoke of the Marist history in the Hawke’s Bay with passion. Our formator Lisa Small told me later that last year he had shown the students different material, and that it was likely he prepared the current sheets just for us, such was his character. We had a great time with Fr Paddy, who toured us around a few places, including the Mission Estate, regaling us with stories from the past. The staff treated him like royalty. The Mission Estate was kind enough to let us try some of their wines. I’m obviously no wine sophisticate because I leant over what looked like a wine apparatus and took in big poncy sniffs not realising that it was a spittoon!

Later on, we were invited for dinner at Maryknoll for dinner with the brothers and fathers there. Soon after we arrived, Fr Paddy whisked us off to the renovated chapel. This chapel was amazing for two reasons. Firstly, the large windows revealed some idyllic scenery, and secondly, the acoustics: as soon as we started to sing it was as if angels had opened their mouths, and trust me, our gang -with the exception of Lisa and Michael - do not usually sound this way! The chapel setting helped us lean into a joyful disposition for Mass - particularly appropriate given that Lisa was celebrating her 13th year of consecrated life.

The Group at the Mission

The Group at the Mission

Over dinner I relished the warmth of the community and vibrant discussions about the ‘golden age’ of movies. By the end of the night I was practically dragged off such was the energy in the room.

With the Marists at Mount St

With the Marists at Mount St

The last stop on the Marian aspect of our pilgrimage was visiting the huge shrine of Our Lady of Lourdes in Kapiti. We constantly prayed rosaries and tried to be under our Mother’s gaze during our journey.

Looking back on the pilgrimage, so much seemed to click into place. In truth though, the pilgrimage was the culmination of huge amounts of generous work and prayers from so many supporters and the grace of God. We hoped that we mirrored that kindness on our journey. I pray that we all may continue to try and be pure capacities to accept the mercy of God in Mary, through Mary, and for Mary and her beloved Son.”  

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