Simone Olsen, Communications Adviser for the New Zealand Catholic Bishops
‘It is with great sadness we heard today of the passing of Bishop Barry Jones,’ announced Cardinal John Dew, President of the New Zealand Catholic Bishops Conference, on Saturday 13 February 2016.
‘My brother Bishops and I would like to extend our sincere condolences to Bishop Barry’s siblings and extended family, close friends and the Christchurch Diocese who will be mourning the loss of a loved brother, friend and servant leader. Please keep his family and the priests and people of Christchurch in prayer.’
Over the last few years Bishop Barry suffered a series of strokes and a few weeks ago was admitted to hospital with heart complications. He will be remembered as a devoted priest and bishop who gave his time and energy to the People of God and always put them first. He was a man of great and unwavering faith in the Lord, and a humble and stoic man – particularly so in the face of his recent illness.
‘We know he was well cared for by the medical professionals, his family and friends in recent months. We know he would want us to pray in gratitude for their care of him,’ Cardinal John said. ‘A proud Canterbury man, Bishop Barry was especially fond of his home town of Rangiora in North Canterbury. The suffering and distress of those living in Christchurch during and after the earthquakes was always close to mind for him and he would often express to those of us outside of Canterbury the kind of challenges and daily stresses the people of Christchurch were experiencing.’
Bishop Barry was ordained almost 50 years ago, on 4 July 1966. He served as priest in Timaru North, Cathedral, Christchurch Hospital, Kumara, Akaroa, Sockburn, Te Rangimarie, Burnham, Vice Rector Good Shepherd House, Riccarton and Greymouth.
He was ordained Co-adjutor Bishop in 2006 and was installed as the ninth Catholic Bishop of Christchurch Diocese in 2007.
‘As Bishops we will greatly miss his dry sense of humour at our meetings, and in our work together we will miss his wisdom and his pastoral insights. He would often be mindful and express the needs of those who were most vulnerable, such was his empathy and pastoral nature,’ said Cardinal John. ‘He was a man of few words, but unafraid to speak his mind and always with wisdom. He had an incredible sense of social justice, a grasp of tikanga Māori and was fluent in te reo.
‘Bishop Barry had chosen for his Bishop’s motto – ‘The Lord delights in his people’ – an apt phrase for a leader who expressed his love for the Lord through his service to His people, and in turn was beloved by so many.’
Haere atu e te Rangatira o te Hahi, i roto i te korowai o te Atua. Moe mai e Pa, moe mai.
May he now rest in peace.
Bishop Barry Jones: A tribute from Bishop Charles Drennan to Palmerston North Diocese on 15 February 2016.
It is in a spirit of thanksgiving to God for the person and his priesthood, that I convey to you the sad news of Bishop Barry’s death in the early hours of Saturday morning.
I ask that you pray for Bishop Barry, his family members and the people of the Christchurch Diocese.
As many of you are aware, Bishop Barry had suffered a number of strokes over the last couple of years but it was a heart attack in late January that saw him move to palliative care at Nurse Maude where he received great care alongside visits from his family and friends.
Bishop Barry was a man’s man, of steadfast faith, whose appointment as Bishop in 2006 was warmly welcomed by the people of Christchurch.
My first recollection of him goes back to when I was at high school and he was in residence at the St Teresa’s Riccarton presbytery. In those days he rolled his own cigarettes and his unwavering passion for social justice – which never left him – made a great impression on those to whom he spoke.
I sense that Pā Barry’s happiest days of priesthood were those he spent at Te Rangimarie as Māori Missioner. So many of the stories and wise insights he shared in later years arose from this time.
Pā Barry’s love of te reo Māori was reflected in the care and erudition with which he spoke it.
Bishop Barry’s sense of humour was not his best-known gift. It was something I came to know when I became a Bishop and joined our New Zealand Bishops’ Conference. Our meeting agendas are almost always heavy but we do too often laugh and more often than not – as Bishops Peter and Owen too will attest – it was a Barry Jones comment that would elicit a healing or calming laugh when we most needed it.
Echoing Cardinal John’s words, we will all miss his humour, wisdom, deep pastoral insights, concern for the poor and vulnerable, and his great love of the Church.
Haere atu e te Rangatira o te Hahi, i roto i te korowai o te Atua. Moe mai e Pa, moe mai. May he rest in peace. Amen.
Bishop Barry lovingly farewelled by those he served
Hundreds gathered at St Mary’s Pro Cathedral for the funeral Mass following several days of prayer, tributes, and Masses paying respects to Bishop Barry Jones who passed away on Saturday 13 February aged 74.
Faith leaders, civic leaders and the Catholic community joined with his family for the Requiem Mass led by Cardinal John Dew on Friday 19 February 2016.
Cardinal John began by acknowledging Bishop Barry’s siblings, their families and the priests, religious and lay faithful who were mourning the loss of their beloved brother, uncle, bishop and friend.
He assured them he and his brother bishops along with many throughout New Zealand held them in prayer at this time. During the week, the Diocesan staff and Bishop Barry’s family worked tirelessly to arrange the week of memorials to pay a fitting tribute reflecting the spirit in which he lived and ministered to others – in a humble, prayerful and loving way.
‘He was a man who didn’t like a fuss made over him, but it was important to all of us in the Diocese and wider community that, along with his two brothers and sister and family, we pray for him, pay tribute to his life, faith and ministry, and acknowledge all that his he has meant for us as a wonderful leader in the wide and rich service he has given to others as priest and Bishop’, said Fr Rick Loughnan, Administrator of the Christchurch Diocese.
‘We were heartened to have Anglican Bishop Victoria Matthews attend and pay her respects. She was a supportive friend to Bishop Barry, in particular during the aftermath of the Canterbury earthquakes. We were also honoured to have the Rt Hon Gerry Brownlee, Hon David Carter, Hon Clayton Cosgrove and Her Worship the Mayor of Christchurch Lianne Dalziel. The presence of our civic leaders was a sign of his presence and leadership in the wider community,’ said Fr Loughnan.
Bishop Basil Meeking, emeritus bishop of Christchurch, gave the homily, describing the many things Bishop Barry had been involved with during his priestly ministry that spanned close to 50 years. He highlighted his grasp of tikanga Māori and Te Reo and his time as Chaplain to Māori in the Christchurch Diocese.
He also described the dedication and commitment he had to his ministry and in later years to his leadership as bishop. Bishop Barry’s ministry to Māori as a priest and then later as a bishop was a big part of his life.
It was fitting he spent some time lying in state in the care of Te Rangimarie Marae on Thursday. ‘His time this week at Te Rangimarie was moving and special – many people took time to pay their respects, both from the Catholic and the wider Māori community. Also the Samoan community was invited to pay their respects to the Bishop at Te Rangimarie,’ Fr Loughnan said.
Bishop Barry was very supportive of the Carmelite sisters in Christchurch and his body was taken to the Carmelite monastery at the start of the week. During those days the Carmelite nuns prayed the morning and evening prayer of the Church and stayed vigil by his side overnight.