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Chalice from NZ to be used at Messines

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 20/05/2017

The New Zealand Defence Force is accepting a chalice in Wellington on Sunday it will take to commemorations to mark the centenary of New Zealand's involvement in the Battle of Messines.

The chalice of First World War chaplain Father James Joseph McMenamin will be handed over to NZDF chaplains during a mass at Sacred Heart Church in Petone on Sunday.

Father McMenamin, a New Zealand Expeditionary Force Catholic chaplain and parish priest of Sacred Heart, was killed while conducting battlefield burials near Messines on June 8, 1917.

His chalice, a gift from the Petone parish, was returned to Sacred Heart Church and has been used during services ever since.

A window in the church as well as the building itself were dedicated to Father McMenamin when it was rebuilt in the 1930s.

The NZDF will take the chalice to Belgium where it will be used in a graveside service at Nieppe Communal Cemetery on June 8, and a mass for Father McMenamin in St Nicholas' Church later that day.

That's a day after the National Commemorative Service at Messines Ridge British Cemetery and a Sunset Ceremony at the New Zealand Battlefield Memorial.

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