by NZ Catholic staff
The Christchurch Diocese announced with great sadness the passing of Christchurch Bishop Barry Jones today (February 13,2016) at 3:30 am. He was 74 years old.
Christchurch Vicar-General Father Rick Loughnan made the announcement to the Christchurch diocesean commnunity on their website and Facebook page this morning.
“Bishop Barry was readmitted to Christchurch Hospital on Friday 29th January after suffering a heart attack. Prior to this he has had some months of ill health due to several strokes. He had always hoped, along with all of us, that he would make a good recovery but that was not meant to be,” Fr Loughnan said.
Bishop Barry was the 9th Bishop of Christchurch and has served as the Bishop of the Diocese since 2007. He has provided sterling leadership of the Diocese particularly in the exceptional circumstances following the earthquakes.
NZ Catholic Bishops Conference president Wellington Cardinal John Dew expressed his condolences to Bishop Jones’ family on behalf of the other New Zealand bishops.
“It is with great sadness that we heard today of the passing of Bishop Barry Jones. My brother Bishops and I would like to extend our sincere condolences to Bishop Barry’s siblings and extended family, close friends and the Christchurch Diocese who will be mourning the loss of a loved brother, friend and servant leader,” he said.
Bishop Jones suffered a series of strokes late last year. He was readmitted to Christchurch Hospital on Friday 29th January after suffering a heart attack.
“Bishop Barry was a man of great and unwavering faith in the Lord, he was a humble and stoic man and this was particularly so in the face of his recent illness,” said Cardinal Dew.
“We know that he was well cared for by the medical professionals, his family and friends in recent months. We know he would want us to pray in gratitude for their care of him.” he said.
Bishop Barry was ordained close to 50 years ago, in that time he served as priest in Timaru North, Cathedral, Christchurch Hospital, Kumara, Akaroa, Sockburn, Te Rangimarie, Burnham, Vice Rector Good Shepherd House, Riccarton and Greymouth. He was ordained Coadjutor Bishop in 2006 and later was install as the ninth Catholic Bishop of Christchurch Diocese in 2007.
“A proud Canterbury man, he was especially fond of his home town of Rangiora in North Canterbury. The suffering and distress of those living in Christchurch during and after the earthquakes was always close to mind for him and he would often express to those of us outside of Canterbury the kind of challenges and daily stresses that the people of Christchurch were experiencing,” said Cardinal Dew.
“As Bishops we will greatly miss his dry sense of humour at our meetings, and in our work together we will miss his wisdom and his pastoral insights. He would often be mindful and express the needs of those that were most vulnerable, such was his empathy and pastoral nature.” he added.
Cardinal Dew said Bishop Jones “was a man of few words, but unafraid to speak his mind and always with wisdom. He had an incredible sense of social justice, a grasp of tikanga Maori and fluent in te reo.”
“He had chosen for his Bishop’s motto – ‘The Lord delights in his people’ – an apt phrase for a leader who expressed his love for the Lord through his service to His people, and in turn was beloved by so many.” said Cardinal John.
Haere atu e te Rangatira o te Hahi, i roto i te korowai o te Atua.
Moe mai e Pa, moe mai.
May he now rest in peace.