Fr Chris Skinner delighted school children teachers and parishioners as he toured through the Dunedin Diocese earlier this month. Travelling in mid-winter was an opportunity to see beautiful scenery and even a bit of snow.
God was with us, and no roads were closed.
St Joseph's School Queenstown warmed up the church for us on Monday afternoon as the children sang, listened and learned the actions to Fr Chris's uplifting music.
His sense of fun and real joy was contagious, and all were smiles during his concert. Later in the afternoon, our Catholic School teachers from all over Central Otago gathered to be delighted by his music and inspired by his spiritually as he spoke about the liturgy of the mass.
After Queenstown a journey through the snow-covered Ida Valley to Ranfurly for a school concert to an excited, group of children who knew Fr Chris's music and sang along beautifully.
Then to Oamaru for another concert and Parish Teacher session in the late afternoon. Fr Chris had spent many hours preparing for the Teacher and Parish sessions, and this showed as he was able to adapt to each different group as he responded to their questions.
Next stop was Dunedin, where parish musicians gathered at Holy Name on Wednesday night to enjoy Fr. Chris’s musical gifts and liturgical wisdom.
He spoke to us of how we all bring our own lived experience of the liturgy to our parish music ministry. It was really refreshing to hear someone speaking to us who is fully immersed in our own kiwi context.
The following day was a wonderful afternoon was spent with Fr Chris in the St Peter Chanel Church in Green Island where Fr Chris was able to share his Marist story as well as his music and, wisdom on the liturgy, with the teachers who had gathered from Dunedin and the surrounding districts.
In Balclutha family seemed to come from everywhere for the school concert. Cousins of all ages appeared and enjoyed with the children and teachers at St Joseph's school.
Onto Invercargill where teachers travelled from all over Southland, Winton, Bluff and Gore to join the Invercargill teachers at St Patrick's Church.
The recent video clips created by the Christchurch Diocese of Bishop Peter Cullinane, presenting on the mass, were of great benefit to the sessions and enhanced Fr Chris's wonderful input.
Fr. Chris finished his marathon tour of nearly two weeks in Gore, the geographical heart of our Diocese. Here he did a school concert at St. Mary’s in the morning and an evening session at Blessed Sacrament Church for parish musicians.
One of the gifts of Chris’s tour was how he went around to so many places in our diocese.
It was a nice follow up to his tour 2016 tour of the Dunedin Diocese where he taught us all his Hopetoun Mass, which is being sung in many parishes.
Touring and teaching in all parts of our Diocese has brought a liturgical cohesiveness which helps us feel more as one. We also like to claim Fr. Chris as one of our own as he has some strong roots in the Balclutha/Tuapeka Mouth areas of Otago.