Altar boys, flower girls, priests, nuns and the flags of many nations - the congregation of Whanganui's St Anthony's Church headed out in style yesterday, in a procession of thanks to St Anthony.

Father Louis Bochkoltz said it was an annual one happening on the closest Sunday to June 13. The congregation prayed to the saint for the church now established here. It promised to honour him with a procession, and has done so every year since 1991.

Yesterday's procession had about 350 people, Fr Bochkoltz estimated. Music was provided by the Feilding and District Pipe Band and members of two other bands.

Colin Sinclair, from the Feilding band, said it was good practice for the 11 pipers and two drummers, who enjoyed it. The occasion finished with a parish function and shared food. St Anthony's other procession of the year happens on the last Sunday in October.