Whakatane celebrate silver jubilee

On the 19th of September 1957, the then Parish Priest, Father Courtney with the backing of Archbishop Liston, addressed a gathering of local ladies.  The outcome of this meeting was the formation of a Catholic Women’s League Branch and the election of the following executive – President, Mrs Fogerty; Vice President, Mrs Doran; Secretary, Mrs Bridges; Treasurer, Mrs Hand.   From this beginning came an energetic, vibrant women’s group whose motto was, “In Faith and Service”.   For 60 years, ladies from St Peter Chanel Parish have continued to honour and fulfil the aims of Margaret Fletcher – they have prayed for and supported the poor and needy and provided friendship and fellowship.

There was a good attendance of members at the celebratory luncheon, including a former Parish Priest, Father Frank O’Regan, present Parish Priest Father Robert Sharplin and branch Chaplain Peter Lander.

These five ladies were honoured by the Branch Executive for the service they have provided over the years.  Josie Gillick, Maria Goes, Riet van Boheemen, Maryrose Butler and Helen Spring were each presented with a framed Hamilton Diocesan Service Certificate and a spray of flowers.  Absent was Lorna Scholtens.

Over the years the branch has retained archival material and the members enjoyed looking at photos and recalling the fellowship they had experienced.

Helen Spring, a present-day member who was at the initial meeting, and Mary Rose Butler who joined shortly after, cut the cake.