Posted by Br Adrian Watson
on 24 June 2019
About 350 former students and teachers gathered for the 60th anniversary reunion of Francis Douglas Memorial College in New Plymouth on New Zealand Queen's Birthday Weekend, the first weekend in June. Three Brothers, Sir Brother Patrick Lynch, Brother Jack Iremonger and Brother Adrian Watson, were able to attend the reunion.
The 60th anniversary celebrations began with the traditional Founder's Day Mass at St Joseph's Church for all the current students and staff of the College. The homily was given by Sir Brother Patrick Lynch, former teacher and current member of the College Board of Trustees. The students brought forward many baskets of non-perishable food for use by the New Plymouth Food Bank at the offertory of the Mass, and participated in the house haka competition back at the College following the Mass.
In the evening, several hundred former students gathered at the West End Bowling Club for a 'meet and greet' session. There was a very good representation of former students from the 1960s and 1970s. Former students travelled to the reunion from the UK, Italy, Japan, Australia and throughout New Zealand. Some were thwarted in their plans to attend the 'meet and greet' session by the stormy weather which closed New Plymouth Airport on Friday evening.
On Saturday, former students attended rugby and football games which were part of an annual exchange with Whanganui Collegiate. There were also opportunities for the former students to participate in a school tour and barbeque lunch, and more recent former students unsuccessfully challenged the current College Basketball Senior A team.
On Sunday, a number of former students gathered with local parishioners at the 10.30 am Mass at St Joseph's Parish Church. The principal celebrant of the Mass was Father Tom Lawn from St Joseph's, Father Kevin Neal from Palmerston North and Father Michael Smith SJ from Rome, all former students of the College. Father Michael Smith gave a short account of his work with Jesuit Refugee Services following communion. A morning tea in the church foyer was well-attended, with many former students expressing their intention to come to the next reunion that may be planned in the future.
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