About 500 invited guests including Archbishop Dew’s sisters were present at the festive occasion in Sacred Heart Cathedral.
In the absence of Cardinal Tom Williams, Bishop Denis Browne, as president of the New Zealand Bishops’ Conference, placed the metropolitan crozier in Archbishop Dew’s hands saying:
The Holy Father, Pope John Paul, chose you to be the shepherd of the Church of Wellington. With prayerful trust and confidence I hand to you this crozier, as a sign of the shepherd’s vocation. May the Lord sustain you as you watch over the flock of this archdiocese, to which the Holy Spirit has assigned you as archbishop to serve the Church of God.
Bishop Browne then placed the korowai around Archbishop Dew’s shoulders.
After the entrance hymn, Archbishop Dew knocked on the door of the cathedral and representatives of the tangata whenua gave the karanga expressing the sentiments of the liturgical gathering.
The parish priest, Fr Maurice Carmody, then offered the archbishop a crucifix to kiss.
After spending some time in prayer in the Blessed Sacrament Chapel, Archbishop Dew moved through the congregation sprinkling holy water as a reminder of each one’s baptism and of the Easter season.
Bishop Browne then moved into the rite of installation after which he placed the crozier in Archbishop Dew’s hands.
Tributes were given by Sr Denise Fox rsm representing those in concecrated life and Monsignor John Carde representing the archdiocesan clergy.
In her tribute to Archbishop Dew, Kathi George representing the people and parishes of the archdioese, said she had known the archbishop since running the Onslow youth group in 1985.
‘He was such a ball of energy and the young ones adored him.’
Kathi George spoke of Archbishop Dew’s leadership gifts. She said he had ‘the common touch’ which she said was ‘extremely rare’.
‘If he had only two minutes to be with you, you are sure that he wanted to spend those two minutes with you, and always sincerely so.’
Another gift was his humility which meant having an open mind and a willingness to learn.
‘And Archbishop you may have learned a lot in your 50ish years but we’ll guarantee that your education is not over yet,’ Mrs George told him.
A third gift was his sense of fun, the ability to join in with the laughter and joviality of ordinary social occasions.
‘I’m not going to tell of his cooking talents or green fingers. But one special celebration I am going to tell you about is the morning of the dawning of the new millennium when Bishop John joined the parishioners of one parish on a hill overlooking our incomparable harbour and not only celebrated the 5 am Mass but was there much earlier hammering in the parking signs.’
Kathi George then thanked Archbishop Dew for his willingness to take up the yoke ‘in what will not always be an easy furrow to plough’ and prayed that God would continue to bless him with his gifts of ‘wisdom, tolerance, compassion and just-thinking’.
She also asked the congregation’s support for Archbishop Dew to preserve the qualities that make him so special, and to help him to remain ‘his true self’.
After the service Archbishop Dew thanked all those who had come to ‘share in this historic and important event in the life of our Church.
‘I am very grateful to you for your presence here and for your support, love and prayers.’
He then read a card he had received from a religious Sister saying:
I will pray to Suzanne Aubert to intercede for you with God for courage, daring, magnanimity, justice, a deep sense of fun and peace through integrity.
‘Please add your prayers to hers as I begin to pray and work with you as the seventh Archbishop of Wellington.’