Sometimes fate conspires in the most amazing ways.
On Tuesday, December 29, Barb and I attended our niece's wedding in Wanaka. The service was beautifully done by Monsignor Paul Mahoney.
I first knew Paul when he was a lawyer in Invercargill and I was a cadet reporter doing my court reporting experience. He was a friend of one of The Southland Times' advertising staff, the late Brian Harvey, and would often join our Friday night drinking group at the Hokonui Bar at the Kelvin Hotel. Sport was our most common interest and remained so through the years.
He also played Saturday afternoon cricket for the Marist club while I played for the Union club. Paul decided to follow his desire to take up the priesthood and I left Invercargill for greener journalistic pastures, some of them with a few prickles.
However, it was delightful to have Paul come up to me while we were waiting for the service to say hello. We chatted briefly and agreed to speak after the service.
We duly did, standing in the glorious Wanaka sunshine and caught up on the past 34 years. Paul was unchanged and the superb gentleman he always was. It was a delight to renew our acquaintance.
Sadly Paul died in his sleep that same evening. The Vicar General of the Dunedin Diocese according to his death notice, he was a fine friend and my sympathies go out to his brothers John and David, each well-known members of a significant Southland family.
Vale Father Paul Mahoney.