New Zealand Region
TEAMS IN WELLINGTON, NZ
New Zealand: Kayren and Laurie Smith email@example.com
Australia: Faye and Kevin Noonan firstname.lastname@example.org
The Teams Movement for Married Spirituality (Teams of Our Lady) was established in New Zealand in 1995 by Peggy Corrigan from England when visiting family. This Sector has started a little differently in that most Teams are within the same parish – St Theresa’s Parish, Plimmerton, Porirua. Porirua City is 29 kms north of the capital, Wellington.
In 2000, Teams NZ was invited to join the Australasian Super Region and the Sector is now part of Queensland/N-NSW Region.
There are three Teams in the Wellington region with members from St Theresa’s Plimmerton, St Peter & Pauls’ Johnsonville and St Joseph’s, Upper Hutt.
Beginnings of Teams in New Zealand
Father Michael Sweere, the founding priest of Teams in New Zealand, died on 12 August 2017 aged 90. He was Parish Priest of Plimmerton in 1994. He had come to New Zealand from Holland as a young man. He farmed in various areas around the North Island but the call to priesthood became very clear to him. He approached his parish priest Father Vincent McGlone about it. Michael’s one hesitation was he was thirty years old, and by the time he finished seminary he would be 37 years old. Fr McGlone said to him “Michael in seven years’ time whether you go to the seminary or not you will still be 37!
Early in 1995, Peggy Corrigan from England, visiting family in NZ, approached Father Sweere with information about the Teams movement and followed it up some time later with him. He hadn’t read the material but promised he would, and did. He thought it was great and she asked him if he would like her to get a team started. He agreed and the Teams movement began in 1995 in Plimmerton. There were five couples in the first team and Father Michael was the Spiritual Counsellor.
A second team was formed for retired couples short after and Father John Heijnan was their Spiritual Counsellor. A third team followed after a parish family weekend and that team is still very active today – with three couples from the original group. There were seven Teams in the area at one stage and one was piloted in the Central Hawkes Bay. There are currently three Teams in Wellington.
Father Michael was Spiritual Counsellor to all the Teams except one – he said it was a wonderful way to be in touch with so many parishioners and to be able to talk about the things that really mattered in life. When he left, he still encouraged the Teams and would often offer Mass at the Teams retreats and assist with reconciliation. He was very enthusiastic about Teams, saying it was the best thing he had seen, but he was unsuccessful in starting Teams in any of the other parishes he was in, though he tried and had backup from the Teams in which he had been a member.
Father John Heijnan was Spiritual Counsellor to a team for several years. He died on 31 October 2017. Father John, an Assumptionist Priest, came to NZ in 1958 from Holland. He came to teach at a college yet to be built. He attended university and taught at other schools and 10 years after arriving in NZ started teaching at the college. Father John has been involved in marriage ministries including Teams from 1995 to approximately 2000. He was also involved in Engaged Encounter as well as many other ministries in the Catholic community.
On 8th December, Teams members recently attended Mass at the Cathedral and then went on to dinner at a local restaurant.
Interest in Teams spreading:
Following much interest from the Hamilton Diocese, Teams was invited to visit the Diocese to deliver a series of presentations about the movement. In April, Mons Frank Marriot, and Faye and Kevin Noonan, spent a week in the Diocese visiting a number of parishes. Presentations were delivered to the Bishop and Priests’ Council; to the married deacons and priests; and to a number of parish communities and key couples.
The response was very positive and a number of teams are likely to be formed.
Our thanks to Bishop Steve Lowe for his vision and support, and to Joe Hogan, Marriage and Family Life Animator in Hamilton, for his work in developing a detailed program of events.
Following to the visit to Hamilton, Mons Frank Marriott delivered a presentation to the Diocesan staff in Auckland. This presentation also generated interest in the possibility of establishing Teams.
A potluck dinner was held with local Teams members, to welcome Mons Frank and Faye and Kevin Noonan. A priest who attended the dinner is also interested in the prospect of introducing Teams in his parish.