Southlanders farewell their own Bishop Len Boyle

The final requiem mass for Bishop Len Boyle was celebrated in St Mary’s Basilica in Invercargill last Thursday.

It was attended by A crowd of several hundred people – many of whom spilled out into the foyer.

Clergy from throughout Southland, Otago, New Zealand and Australia were in attendance at the mass, as was Invercargill mayor Tim Shadbolt and students from several Southland Catholic schools.

Boyle was the parish priest at St Mary’s Basilica from 1972 until he became a bishop in 1983.

The mass began with a rendition of “Lift High The Cross,” with accompaniment by organist Dr Raymond White. Later, soloist Rebecca Ryan sang part of “Pie Jesu” from Faure’s Requiem.

In his homily Bishop Dennis Brown said Boyle’s Southland charm had a way of rubbing off on others.

He said he fondly remembered the time Boyle patted Pope John Paul II on the back as a gesture of support.

“That made him eligible for excommunication, because he had struck the Holy Father,” he joked.

“He was outstanding. A humble, beautiful man who had a deep appreciation for everybody.”

Boyle’s niece, Catherine Morrision, also spoke at the mass.

“He was a wonderful storyteller, and could captivate an audience,” she said.

“He had a remarkable memory. He was so proud of being brought up in Nightcaps and Winton.”

Following the service, students from Invercargill’s Verdon College performed a haka outside the basilica.

Boyle’s casket was then taken to the Ascot Park Hotel for a reception, and then to Wreys Bush Cemetery where he was buried next to other members of his family.


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