WelCom November 2023
A national assembly of Catholic priests was held in October for the first time in five years.
One hundred and seventy five priests attended the five-day event, which was held in Rotorua and was described as ‘uplifting’ and ‘joyous’ by those who participated.
In many respects, it has been a time of national trauma since their last gathering in 2018. The country has experienced such painful events as the mosque shootings, the Whakaari-White Island volcanic eruption, the major storms early this year and the three years of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Fr Michael Hishon of Dunedin, chair of the 2023 National Assembly of Diocesan Priests organising committee, says he is very satisfied how all the many months of meetings and preparation culminated in the successful assembly.
‘The last five years have proven a kind of stormy and even at times demoralising period for us all as priests attempting to make our way, and so this opportunity to gather has made for a really hopeful and joy-gilded five days of companionship,’ Fr Michael said at the assembly’s conclusion.
Fr Michael said the formal welcome at Te Papaiouru Marae on Monday, the formal dinner on Thursday night, and everything in between was a success.
Speakers included Archbishop of Brisbane Mark Coleridge, New Plymouth assistant parish priest Fr Vui Hoang, Whanganui parish priest Fr Craig Butler, Pakuranga parish priest Sherwin Lapaan, new Bishop of Palmerston North John Adams, Caritas chief executive Mena Antonio, Catholic Enquiry Centre director Rebecca Taylor-Hunt, Auckland Catholic couple Hannah and James van Schie, and Dr Therese Lautua and Lucienne Hensel, who took a leading part in the Oceania and diocesan phases respectively of the current Synod of Synod process.
See Bishop Mark Coleridge.