WelCom February 2024
Fr Michael Pui – parish priest of Good Shepherd Parish Hurunui in North Canterbury – has been appointed National Director of MissioNZ, the local face of the Pontifical Mission Societies.
He takes over from Fr Bernard Espiritu SVD, the national director since 2012.
The Pontifical Mission Societies are a group of four missionary bodies under the jurisdiction of the Pope via the Vatican’s Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples. The societies connect local churches to the Catholic Church’s missionary work around the world. They are best known to most people for overseeing the World Missions Sunday collection on the third Sunday of October each year in all Catholic parishes around the world.
Fr Michael was ordained in Christchurch in 2000 by Bishop John Cunneen after a secular career as an engineer with the former Electricorp and Foundation for Research, Science and Technology. He has served as parish priest in several Christchurch diocese parishes since his ordination, most recently at Good Shepherd, Hurunui since 2020.
‘I am taking up the position with some trepidation, and also with some sadness at the thought I will no longer be a parish priest among my flock,’ says Fr Michael.
‘The role of the national director is far more than dealing only with the collection of Mission Sunday or generating a revenue to fund mission work in the world. It includes promoting a missionary sense within local parishes, religious institutions and schools with particular attention to World Mission Sunday, and establishing a stable and good relationship with the bishop who liaises with MissioNZ within the New Zealand Catholic Bishops Conference, currently Bishop Michael Gielen, Bishop of Christchurch.
‘I think in time I will be visiting all the parishes in New Zealand, on weekends!’ says Fr Michael.
Bishop Michael Gielen says: ‘Fr Michael has shown his great passion for mission, outreach and evangelisation in his priestly ministry. In this new role, he will carry that zeal around the country to serve the national Church, and ultimately the Church’s missionary efforts around the world.’
MissioNZ website: missio.nz