Old-boys of St Patrick’s College Wellington connected again with one another over Queen’s Birthday weekend at the 125th Jubilee. All three of the official Jubilee functions, the Blues Brothers Bash on Friday night, Grand Jubilee Dinner on Saturday and Mass on Sunday were at capacity.
Importantly, people really enjoyed themselves and lots of stories were told. A student from the 1990’s and editor of Wellington’s new FishHead Magazine, Ben Christie said. “The jubilee was a fantastic experience, and it was great to see the school in such good stead and the spirit of the College continuing to thrive.” He is already looking forward to the 150th.
With over 700 copies sold the Jubilee book was also a big winner over the weekend. Written by old-boy Michael Fitzsimmons, “Sectare Fidem” gives particular emphasis to the last 25 years in the College’s life, and its coffee table format makes it visually appealing and easy to read.
Relocated at Kilbirnie in 1979, for most old boys at the jubilee had no memories or experiences at this site. Rector of the College, Fr Paul Martin identified the real sense of achievement was that lots of people came to the jubilee and went through the College. “The sense of continuity albeit at a different location seems to have been a very positive experience,” Fr Martin said.
Without doubt the feel-good factor was there, and many old-boys commented how much they enjoyed the displays of their decade. The McLauchlan brothers, Ian and Mark, both members of national championship winning basketball teams were keen to see the tribute to their former coach Brian O’Halloran and were surprised to find that he had kept a scrapbook of his teams’ efforts. “I didn’t know he was doing that,” Mark commented. “It brings back lots of memories. Lots of memories.
Memories were also to the fore for Mark when the school anthem was sung at the Jubilee Mass. “I mentioned to Paddy Whooly I didn’t think I’d sung it since leaving school. But he reminded me we sang it in the London pubs a few times!!” Mark said.
All week, since the jubilee the College has been receiving phone calls and email messages of congratulations and thanks. Delighted with the positive response, Fr Martin said. “All we did was bring people together, create a positive atmosphere, provide enough structure for the event, but left the old-boys free enough to also do their own thing.”
Several events also took place throughout the week leading up to the Jubilee weekend. Included in them was the blessing and unveiling of the new St Patrick statue, placed on the front of the Chapel. Sought for some time, the new statue has kindly been made possible by of the generosity of the Havill family.
On Tuesday before the Jubilee, students of the current school visited the old Cambridge Terrace site and then walked from there to the Michael Fowler Centre where they joined with St Patrick’s Silverstream for a Mass to celebrate 125 years of Catholic, Marist education.
Later that evening, the Jubilation concert saw over 1400 people gather to celebrate the cultural life of the College at the Michael Fowler Centre. Many present and past students performed, including the Con Anima reunion choir.
Throughout the weekend, the College was delighted to host the Superior General of the Society of Mary, Fr John Hannan. He was joined by Mr Con McGinley, the present principal of St Mary’s Dundalk and two Irish Marists, Fathers Kevin Cooney and John Harrington, both with connections to St Mary’s Dundalk where Dr Watters, the first Rector, came from.
Throughout the three days, four speeches were made.
- Fr Brian Cummings SM, old-boy and Provincial of the Society of Mary
- Mr Alex Fala, recent old-boy
- Fr John Hannan SM, Superior General of the Society of Mary
- Fr Craig Larkin SM, old-boy.
St Patrick’s College Wellington is the oldest Catholic boys college in New Zealand, and the first to be founded outside of Europe by the Society of Mary.