by ROWENA OREJANA
The death of Bishop Barry Jones is a big blow to the Maoridom, said Te Runanga o Te Hahi Katorika ki Aotearoa chair Sr Tui Cadigan, RSM.
“It was his sense of duty that stands out. Even when he wasn’t well, he would be committed to Te Runanga,” she said.
Sr Tui said Bishop Jones asked Fr Loughnan to attend the meeting on February 12 on his (Bishop Jones’) behalf.
“He has such a commitment to Maori. He’s been there all the time helping in quiet ways. People don’t realise how much he’s done for generations of families to assist them, and certainly to nurture their faith,” she said.
Bishop Jones replaced the late Bishop Max Mariu, the first and only Maori bishop so far, as episcopal deputy of Te Runanga 10 years ago.
Sr Tui said it wasn’t always easy for Bishop Jones, who wasn’t Maori, to be listening to complaints and dissatisfaction with certain aspects of the Church.
“But he’s always maintained his dignity and sat with us, not opposite us. He will really be missed by the delegates, because he made himself accessible always.”
Palmerston North Bishop Charles Drennan said he believed Bishop Jones’ happiest days of priesthood were as Maori
missioner at Te Rangimarie.
“So many of the stories and wise insights he shared in later years arose from this time. Pa Barry’s love of Te Reo
Maori was reflected in the care and erudition with which he spoke it,” said Bishop Drennan.
Bishop Drennan said his first recollection of Bishop Jones goes back to when he (Bishop Drennan) was in high school.
“[Bishop Jones] was in residence at the St Teresa’s, Riccarton, presbytery. In those days he rolled his own cigarettes and his unwavering passion for social justice — which never left him — made a great impression on those to whom he spoke,” said Bishop Drennan.
Bishop Drennan also highlighted Bishop Jones’ sense of humour.
“Our meeting agendas are almost always heavy, but we do too often laugh and more often than not — as Bishops Peter
[Cullinane] and Owen [Dolan] too will attest — it was a Barry Jones’ comment that would elicit a healing or calming
laugh when we most needed it,” Bishop Drennan said.