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The less you say the more you say

August 8, 2017 August 2017 No Comments

the less you say the more you say Father Don Morrison, our local Catholic Priest who has served the South Wairarapa for 32 years recently celebrated 60 years in the Priesthood. The combined community (Catholic and Non-Catholic) and local dignitaries honoured this occasion on Saturday, July 22nd with a Mass attended by His Eminence Cardinal John Dew and 14 other priests who had travelled far and wide to attend. About 200 people, family, friends and parishioners attended – many from Martinborough.

St Teresa’s Choir lead the singing at the Mass of Celebration. Mary Clark sang “The Rose” and Father Don was honoured to receive a Papal Blessing which was presented to him by the Cardinal who spoke about Fr Don’s uniqueness as a Priest.

We then adjourned to the beautifully decorated Anzac Hall for a sit down 3 course banquet lunch. This had been co-ordinated by Lesley Wardle, assisted by maitre’d, Gary Nichols and Chef, Marise Rozing. Judy Gibson, a past parishioner returned to play the grand piano before, during and after the long lunch. MC’s Jack & Joanne Doherty also came back to the Wairarapa for this occasion. All the wine was donated and much of the food – a real community effort! Many volunteers including the Lioness’s helped with food preparation and serving. Long-time parishioner, Yvonne Riddiford said the Grace.

Father Don spoke briefly about his 60 years as a Priest. His first posting was to Pahiatua where the then Parish Priest advised Fr Don “the less you say, the more you say”. As a Martinborough parishioner where Fr. Don celebrates Vigil Mass on a Saturday evening I can confirm that Fr Don took this advice to heart – homilies are 3 – 5 minutes max! Although extra- padding, (topics which include family matters, Harry, the dog visits to the vet , Doctors /Dentists visits etc) are all covered before the final blessing. Father Don did comment on his first Parish Priest, “if only he had followed his own advice”

Father was appointed to parishes in Kilbirnie, Opunake, Takaka, Featherston, 1976-80, Picton, Karori and returned to the South Wairarapa in 1990. Father Don who celebrated his 85th birthday last December daily takes his dog, Harry for a walk around the streets of Featherston and talks to all he meets – young and old.

Often on a Wednesday after the weekly Martinborough Mass he can be found walking the isles of Pain & Kershaw or Mitre 10 singing……la- la- la –la. He is often to be found at St Teresa’s School in Featherston and uses his talents as an artist to illustrate God’s teachings. Joy Cowley, the famed N.Z writer, has used Father Don to illustrate some of her works. “The Easter Story” being one such book.

Father Don has done great work not only for our Catholic Community but for all. He mixes well, has a great sense of humour, been a Rotarian, great with the children who know that at special occasions there is always a treat, even a sibling baptism! He is a leading example of “ecumenism at work”

As the Ode to Father Morrison concludes:—
“You have served your Parish well
No real retirement I hear tell
May you be blest in all you do
Our heartful thanks go out to you”

Margaret Bath

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