St Francis of Assisi Parish
Dec 082017

A new Bishop of Christchurch is appointed by Pope Francis

Pope Francis has appointed Father Paul Martin SM as the next Bishop of the Christchurch Diocese. Bishop-Elect Paul Martin will be the tenth Bishop of Christchurch and succeeds Bishop Barry Jones who died in February 2016.

Bishop Patrick Dunn, President of the New Zealand Catholic Bishops Conference (NZCBC), said “we are delighted that Bishop-Elect Paul has accepted the call to this special ministry. On behalf of all the New Zealand Bishops I warmly welcome him to our New Zealand Catholic Bishops Conference. We know that he will bring a new voice and a valuable perspective to our discussions.”

Bishop-Elect Paul Martin SM was born in Hastings in 1967, one of five children.  He entered formation for the Society of Mary in February 1985, and studied in theology and arts at Victoria University in Wellington. He has taught English and Religious Education in New Zealand and has held the roles of Rector at St Patrick’s College in Wellington and Deputy Director in Pastoral Care at St Bede’s College, Christchurch.

The Bishop-Elect has also served as President of the Wellington Secondary Schools Principals Association and was a part of the Marist community at the time it was working in Māori pastoral care at Rawene in the South Hokianga. More recently, he was General Bursar for the Society of Mary in Rome.

Bishop Dunn said “it is wonderful for Christchurch that they will receive a Bishop who has worked with a range of communities, has extensive pastoral experience and comes to the role with a wealth of knowledge and expertise.”

As news of his appointment was announced, Bishop-Elect Paul said “I’d like to express what a privilege it is to be chosen to serve in the Diocese of Christchurch as Bishop, following in the footsteps of those before me.  I am really looking forward to taking up this ministry and leading the Diocese.”

Bishop Dunn said “I would like to take this opportunity to express our sincere gratitude to Father Rick Loughnan who has given us his dedicated service as Diocesan Administrator for almost two years. During this time he has worked tirelessly to support the priests and people of the Diocese, and has represented them well at our regular meetings of the New Zealand Catholic Bishops Conference.”

Father Rick Loughnan has been the administrator of the diocese following the passing of Bishop Barry Jones last year.  Commenting at the time of the announcement, Father Rick said “we are delighted with the appointment by Pope Francis and look forward to welcoming Bishop-Elect Paul with open arms.”

It is expected that his ordination will be in the first part of next year.

The New Zealand Catholic Bishops Conference (NZCBC) is the national body for the bishops of Aotearoa New Zealand. The Conference has a number of agencies and offices to assist the bishops in carrying out national level functions.

Media Contact:          Amanda Gregan, Tel. 021 611 052.



Bishop-Elect Paul Martin biography

Paul Martin was born in Hastings in 1967 to Ronald and Carmel Martin.  He was one of five children.

Receiving his primary education at St Joseph’s in Hastings, the Bishop-Elect then went on to St John’s college where he stayed until 1984. In 1985, he entered formation for the Society of Mary.

1985 – 1991              Studied at Marist seminaries in Wellington, Palmerston North and Napier

1991                            Worked at the Santa Teresa Aboriginal Community, Northern Territory Australia

1993                            Completed a Baccalaureate in Sacred Theology at the Angelicum University of Rome and studied to become a teacher.

This study was then followed by roles in teaching, including those at Pompallier College in Whangarei, St Patrick’s College in Wellington and St Bede’s College in Christchurch where the then Father Paul taught English and Religious Studies. He was Deputy Rector in pastoral care at St Bede’s between 1995 and 2008 and returned to St Patrick’s as Rector until 2014.  He also spent time in the Ministry team at Hato Paoro College in Feilding. From 2014 – 2016 the Bishop-Elect was Assistant Provincial and Provincial Bursar for the Society of Mary, before taking up the position of Bursar General in Rome.

Bishop-Elect Paul has served on boards for St Bede’s, St Patrick’s, New Zealand Teachers Council, Wellington Archdiocesan Board of Administration and has been President of the Wellington Secondary Schools Principals Association.

 Bishop Barry Jones

Bishop Barry served as priest in a number of parishes throughout Canterbury and Westland and was Vice Rector of Good Shepherd House in Riccarton and Greymouth.  He was ordained as the ninth Catholic Bishop of Christchurch Diocese in 2007.


Christchurch Diocese

The Catholic Diocese of Christchurch was established by papal brief in 1887. Formerly part of Wellington Archdiocese, the Diocese of Christchurch is currently comprised of 27 parishes covering parts of the West Coast and Canterbury in the South Island of New Zealand as well as the Chatham Islands, the first place in the world to be touched by the sun each day.

Since 1887 the Diocese has had nine bishops. The mother church of the Diocese is the Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament, Christchurch, which in 2005 celebrated its centenary but was damaged in the February 2011 earthquakes.

The Catholic population of the Diocese is 62,715. The diocese covers 51,780 square kilometres (or 20,000 square miles).  The diocesan patron saint is St John the Baptist.

The map below shows a map of the parishes in the Christchurch Diocese.

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Bishops are appointed by the Pope. The pastoral care of a diocese is entrusted to a diocesan bishop (sometimes referred to as the Ordinary of the diocese). An auxiliary bishop assists the diocesan bishop. A coadjutor bishop has the right to succeed the diocesan bishop as Ordinary of the diocese.

Bishops normally offer their resignation to the Holy Father when they reach the age of 75. When their resignation is accepted they become an emeritus archbishop or bishop. There are currently five diocesan bishops and six emeritus bishops in New Zealand.

Current bishops

Most Reverend Patrick Dunn Bishop of Auckland

Most Reverend Charles Drennan Bishop of Palmerston North

Most Reverend Cardinal John Dew Archbishop of Wellington

Most Reverend Steve Lowe Bishop of Hamilton
Most Reverend Colin Campbell Bishop of Dunedin          
Officers of the New Zealand Catholic Bishops Conference

President: Bishop Patrick Dunn

Vice-President: Cardinal John Dew
General Secretary: Bishop Charles Drennan

 08/12/2017  Categories: News Tagged with: ,