Newly ordained Bishop Stephen Lowe of Hamilton Diocese visited the isolated Bay of Plenty township of Murupara. Parishioners Tania Rewi, her parents Douglas and Hariata Rewi, and Christian Brother Vincent Jury, share their community’s story with Wel-Com.
E ngā mana, i ngā reo, e ngā kārangarangatangā maha, tēnā koutou katoa.
All authorities, all voices, all the many alliances and affiliations, greetings.
On Sunday 22 February 2015, a week after he was ordained, Bishop Stephen Lowe celebrated his first Mass in Murupara’s Sacred Heart Church.
Our community came alive with the news that Bishop Stephen wanted to celebrate his first Mass with us. At 9am, Bishop Stephen received a pōwhiri from one of three hapū of Ngāti Manawa at Rangitahi Marae, then travelled to Sacred Heart Church, a kilometre from the marae.
Mass began at 10am with bell ringing and a karanga from Martha Anderson. The church was filled with visitors from Auckland, Hamilton, Rotorua, Whakatāne, Maketu, Turangi, Ngaputahi and Wellington. Three Māori Anglican women ministers, participated in the celebration.
Music was prepared by Br Vincent Jury, Doug Rewi, and the music team. The Wairua (Holy Spirit) flowed and the singing uplifted our community, which is struggling with high unemployment and much hardship. Aroha rose from over 150 people and the waiata almost blew the roof off.
Bishop Stephen spoke about his seven years working for forestry, and the devastation to communities by the news of restructuring and redundancies he had to relay. That impact has never left him so he chose to say his first Mass in a still-struggling township.
It was a privilege and inspiration Bishop Stephen celebrated his first Mass with us so soon after being ordained; and to share the Eucharist with Catholic and non-Catholic patrons from the Murupara community and other Catholic rohe. We pray God will help Bishop Stephen to listen to the karanga of Māori from no ngā hau e whā, but especially from us here in Murupara.
The Wairua has blessed Murupara with Bishop Stephen’s visit to our little community and we pray good things will continue to flourish.
Mā te Atua koe e Pīhopa Tīpene,
e manaaki e tiaki hoki. Ngā mihi nui.