Father Augustine Cummins, the pioneer priest who started practically every Mass centre in New Zealand back in the 70s, passed away on 8th March 2006 around 2:00 a.m. Scotland time, having almost reached his 61st anniversary of priesthood, and in the 98th year of his life. Father Cummins started visiting New Zealand in 1977, first infrequently, and then he gradually increased his visits to the point of coming every other month in the early 80s. He would fly to Auckland, give catechism, confessions, Mass in the evening, then often a morning Mass, and he would take the bus for Hamilton, and do the same there, then a bus for his next stop… and for fifteen days he would go from the top to the bottom of New Zealand, visiting small groups and giving hope to many, helping many to persevere, in a very humble and very charitable manner. Then he would fly back to Australia from Christchurch. I know how heavy his circuit was: I did it in 1983 as a young priest and was tired!
Though he was always frail, his great faith and zeal to help many to remain faithful to the Mass and Tradition of the Church was such that he seemed to be supported in an extraordinary manner. He brought the grace of God everywhere he went. He was a true son of St. Alphonsus, bringing devotion to Our Lady with him. New Zealand was only a small portion of his zealous territory: from Fiji to Perth (and even Singapore), from Townsville to Hobart, there are only very few chapels that he did not start. All the workers of the first hours remember him with great gratitude, and all those who came after ought to acknowledge their common debt to this kind, humble but extremely zealous priest. We must all include him in our prayers for the repose of his soul, and walk in the path of his Faith and attachment to Tradition. He spent the last years of his life with Fr. Sim, CSsR, from New Zealand, in his monastery on Stronsay island in the Orkney islands, north of Scotland.