From Rome to Porirua

Kapi-Mana News - - FRONT PAGE - KRIS DANDO

‘‘Hav­ing the orig­i­nal Henry VIII mar­riage pa­pers in front of you was some­thing a bit spe­cial.’’

It’s been an in­ter­est­ing road to Plim­mer­ton for Fr Mau­rice Car­mody.

The St Theresa’s par­ish priest is not long in the job, af­ter re­lo­cat­ing from Stoke in Nel­son.

‘‘I was born in Auck­land, but had rel­a­tives here [in Porirua] when I was grow­ing up, so we used to visit,’’ he said. ‘‘It’s not un­fa­mil­iar ter­ri­tory and the com­mu­nity has cer­tainly been wel­com­ing.’’

Car­mody has spent much of his life in academia and lec­tur­ing, par­tic­u­larly based in Aus­tralia and Rome. His love of his­tory meant his time in Rome was fruit­ful and en­joy­able, he said.

He learnt Italian so he could lec­ture there and study­ing for a diploma in archival stud­ies gave him ac­cess to records at the Vat­i­can.

‘‘Hav­ing the orig­i­nal Henry VIII mar­riage pa­pers in front of you was some­thing a bit spe­cial.’’

Car­mody was in Rome when Pope John Paul II was shot in St Peter’s Square in 1981. To later for­give the man who at­tempted to as­sas­si­nate him showed the type of per­son he was, Car­mody said.

‘‘I met him [Pope John Paul II] a cou­ple of times. He was very much a pop­ulist pope, but an ex­tra­or­di­nary char­ac­ter who had ap­peal right across the globe.’’

Car­mody also lec­tured in Poland, Ire­land and Malaysia, but his work in the past decade to have Sis­ter Suzanne Au­bert made New Zealand’s first saint has kept him par­tic­u­larly busy.

He said al­though Au­bert died in 1926, her be­liefs and work were still rel­e­vant to­day, es­pe­cially in the ar­eas of child pro­tec­tion and cul­tural un­der­stand­ing.

The of­fi­cial case for canon­i­sa­tion has al­ready been pre­sented and was ap­proved unan­i­mously by six his­to­ri­ans in 2013. Car­mody is hope­ful Pope Fran­cis could de­clare Au­bert ‘‘ven­er­a­ble’’ this year, com­plet­ing an­other step in the process.

He said the day-to-day work of be­ing the St Theresa’s par­ish priest kept him busy.

‘‘I love it here in Plim­mer­ton. It’s a very in­clu­sive church com­mu­nity and peo­ple have been mar­vel­lous.

‘‘I work in a dif­fer­ent world to­day than I did when I was be­gin­ning my jour­ney, and there are chal­lenges to be ad­dressed, but fun­da­men­tally my job is to lis­ten and learn.

‘‘The good­ness of peo­ple never fails to as­tound me.’’

PHOTO: KRIS DANDO

Fr Mau­rice Car­mody with the work he pre­sented dur­ing the process to canon­ise Suzanne Au­bert.

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