Christmas Eve 1952 was a lovely balmy night. Pat and I thought that we would go to midnight Mass, that is, if our babes were good. We thought one of us could go to Mass while the other sat in the car. Arriving at the Church we found the front door open. We were able to park close to the gate and both saw Mass – a very pleasant surprise.
Masses were 7.30 am, which we always went to, and the other, I think, was 10.00 am. One day Father had 10 altar boys turn up at 7.30 am and so the roster was born.
Mt Carmel School was a brick building of three rooms. There was a Christmas party with Santa and a gift for the bubs and pre-schoolers.
A hall was built behind the school. During the week it was two class rooms and in the evening it was used for social occasions e.g. dances, farewells etc. On the Sunday of First Communion the hall was used for a breakfast for the children after Mass.
Lunches were popular, and the mother’s club had a “fund raising” one each year. Having to cater for sixty plus folk, lots of work and lots of fun. Mothers were in three groups, entrees, mains and sweets. It was an impossible task to taste everyone’s cooking, but we tried. We had a guest speaker. One was a nun back from Africa, who spoke of the efforts to save water, when it ”bucketed” down on the mountain, but dispersed all too quickly. I found it very interesting.
Sports were held between schools. A district meeting was held on the Gisborne football oval. Bigger schools were in one group. Smaller schools were in another group. Again there was much organising, but worth it. Mt Carmel had its share of victories in the first group. The fathers took the footy team to their matches in their cars.
In the early days at St Anne’s Church, weekday Masses were celebrated in the room where the priests now dress for Mass.
At the Christmas break the “Parents and Friends” at Rupertswood took the staff to dinner. They then had an evening for the parents. On the Sunday evening, Mass was celebrated, a three course was served, then the room was cleared for dancing. It was very enjoyable.
The St Vincent de Paul conference met at the presbytery. One night Father was away, so we met on the seats around the old bell tower. Once again it was a balmy night.
The St Vincent de Paul conference members and volunteers, cleared the work room and provided a Christmas lunch inviting members of the regional council.
Information supplied by Rubina October 2014. Used with permission