St Patrick’s Catholic parish priest Father Wayne Healey is closing in on a special achievement.
Father Wayne celebrates 40 years as a priest on June 7, with his parish set to hold a small gathering to celebrate. He has served in Oamaru for eight years.
Fr Wayne started out as a priest on June 7, 1974, in Dunedin and travelled all around Southland and Otago where he was a priest in various parishes.
Fr Wayne said it was a fantastic achievement to get to 40 years.
“It’s been really good, I’ve really enjoyed it here and I’m pleased I’m reaching my 40 years in Oamaru with this parish.”
While he is showing no sign of slowing down, Fr Wayne acknowledged the parish in Oamaru has been a huge help.
“It’s been really enjoyable being a priest here in Oamaru and I hope to continue for many years to come.”
Along with being a priest all round the lower South Island, Fr Wayne said his time in Tacoma, in the United States, where he was a priest for six months, was fantastic.
“I really enjoyed it over there; churches were just so much bigger, but the people were so similar. We’d cater to around 1500 and I was the only priest,” he said.
He became a priest after he visited a bishop while he was farming accountant, and the bishop told him to have a crack at becoming a priest.
“He told me to give it a go and I did.”