Parish dinner

Tonight Catholic Hamilton celebrated with a parish dinner. I don’t want to impugn my city cousins, but it’s nights like this which make me glad I’m a country priest. It was a classic example of rural hospitality and fraternity. (That, or Fr Andrew’s spirited retelling of Clancy of the Overflow got to me.)

Included in the formalities of the evening was a tribute and farewell to our bishop, Peter Connors, who turned 75 in March, and expects to hand over to his successor within weeks.

Also farewelled was our parish secretary, Marie Cook, who is retiring after 20 years in the job. We got her a new iPad as a parting gift. I know. How cool is that?

Bishop Peter and Marie were farewelled with rousing adaptions of some old favourites. “Pack up your mitre in your Gladstone bag” for Bishop Peter, and “Farewell to St Mary’s forever” for Marie. (I probably don’t need to identify the respective tunes.)

The dinner was also the occasion to mark a few beginnings. I was welcomed with a 5 minute roasting, wherein I grappled with the answers to an unrelenting series of questions about Hamilton and St Mary’s Parish. I passed. Just!

After 104 years having their own parish, the people of Penshurst were brought back into the Hamilton parish last year, so they received a formal welcome tonight.

And Bishop Peter launched Hamilton’s new parish website! When I arrived in Hamilton, a website was in development, but I was unfamiliar with the platform, and the project was crippled with delays and technical difficulties. I advised we start from scratch, using WordPress as our platform, and that’s what we did.

It’s hardly a finished product, but the site went live tonight. Its content will improve in the weeks to come, and in the meantime at least it looks good!

  • Joel

    Nice job on the website. A lot of white though – almost anaemic. We aren’t Lutherans.

    • Gosh. Why drag the Lutherans into it? I reckon they outnumber Catholics in Hamilton! Better to aggravate the Calvinists, or another of the more austere denominations.

      Incidentally, one of the people I’m training-to-train the altar servers attends a Lutheran school. Last week, when I told them about the Miracle of Lanciano and showed them some pictures, she was grossed out. This week, she wants to take some of the posters to show in her R.E. class. I know Lutherans for the most part believe in the Real Presence, but I don’t know what they’ll make of Lanciano!

      • Joel

        Calvinists came to mind after I hit “Submit”. They ARE more austere, and puritanical. Eeek!

  • I see you are sticking with WordPress!! 🙁 As to Joel’s comments it is called ‘White Space’ and Fr John uses a Mac! 🙂 I have just launched St James, Brighton that has no white space whatsoever and you will notice the similarities to the Cathedral – I worked on both sites with Fr Gerard Johnson 🙂

    • Nice work Matt. Another excellent example of your signature use of creative wallpapers. It should satisfy the baroque tastes of Joel (who is supposed to me a Mac man himself!).

  • Oops. I forgot to mention ‘nice one’ 😉 It is always challenging building a website around ‘one parish – multiple communities’ !! PTYG 🙂

    • What the heck does PTYG mean? Not even Urban Dictionary can tell me!

      • Force of habit… Praise and Thank You God! Remember… I PTYG for everything both good and bad. Wishing you the Joy and Peace of the Holy Spirit as we celebrate Pentecost 🙂

  • Dan

    Any pics of the dinner father?

    • Heaps! We’re all on a mission to provide photos for the upcoming Stewardship programme.

      I’ll post them when they’re available.

  • John Hockey

    Great work in answering most of the questions during your five minute roasting (Quiz) Fr John. Almost all right only failing on the question about wool. We will expect you to know that given another year of living in the wool capital of the world. Nice work on the Web site as well. P.S. I don’t mind white and I like Lutherans too.


    John Hockey (The Roaster)

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