by ROWENA OREJANA
Auckland — Auckland Bishop Patrick Dunn initially turned down the chance to be a bishop when it was first offered to him by Pope John Paul II through then papal nuncio to New Zealand, Archbishop Thomas White.
“The nuncio, Archbishop White said, “There’s only one answer you can give when the pope asks you something”. And I said, “Yes, there is only one answer and the answer is no!”, Bishop Dunn told more than 1000 young people at the World Youth Day celebration in Auckland on July 13.
Fortunately for Catholic Aucklanders, Archbishop White didn’t take no for an answer and called Fr Patrick Dunn to Wellington.
“I went and I had a good talk to him. I felt that I wasn’t the right person. I felt . . . I guess I was too scared,” he said. “But Archbishop White said, ‘No, this is a serious invitation. You have to trust the discernment that has taken place and trust God and you have to say yes.’ So I said, ‘All right’.”
Bishop Dunn was 19 when he started training for the priesthood. He became a priest at 26. He was 44 years-of-age and the parish priest of Northcote when he was appointed auxillary bishop. That was on July 25, 1994.
On Christmas Eve the same year, he was appointed the 11th Bishop of Auckland. He was formally installed as Bishop in St Patrick’s Cathedral on 29 March, 1995.