In August at St Theresa’s Parish in Plimmerton, a very special celebration was amalgamated into the Sunday Mass.

The Passionist Family Group Movement has been active in New Zealand since the little parish of Paeroa invited the Passionists into their midst in 1988. It has continued to grow to a point where, at its height, there were 45,000 members in Family Groups in New Zealand.

For the last 25 years Rob and Lyn Hill have co-ordinated the Movement in New Zealand as National Directors. On 28th August, they transitioned their leadership to the new National Director Team comprising John & Mary Ellen Leen, and Paul & Linda Darbyshire.

From the opening hymn to the final blessing the congregation was drawn into common-union to celebrate with Fr Brian Traynor and Fr Tom McDonough.

Fr Tom proclaimed from Luke’s Gospel which began with the words : … Jesus went to dine at the home of one of the leading Pharisees, and the people there were observing him carefully. On the 28th of August one congregation were observing a priest very carefully and were drawn into this parable. Fr Tom had taken a place in front of the altar and proclaimed, word for word, from memory. What a blessing it was to witness this beautiful proclamation of the Gospel of the Lord.

Members of Passionist family groups, from Plimmerton and further afield, shared their gifts in various ministries, and the new leaders were commissioned by Fr’s Brian and Tom, and Rob & Lynn Hill. It was a bitter sweet experience. A farewell, a thank you, and blessings for Rob & Lynn; and a welcome and blessings for John, Mary Ellen, Paul and Linda.

The Movement is in good hands! If you would like more information, or to join a family group contact your Parish Co-ordinator or send an email to

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