Clergy moves in six NZ dioceses

Hamilton diocese priests2

Christchurch Bishop Paul Martin, SM, announced the assignment of priests reflecting the new diocesan structure as other dioceses made public clergy moves that would take effect either on the last weekend of January or first weekend of February.

“After Pentecost (May 31) the appointments below are expected to remain the same; however, they will relate to the new North, South, East, West, Central and Selwyn parishes,” Bishop Martin said in a statement. From January 26 to May 31, the appointments refer to the smaller individual parishes that make up these new parishes. After May 31, they will be for the new, larger parishes.

Bishop Martin named Fr Rick Loughnan as the parish priest of the three parishes in the North Christchurch area — Bryndwr, Burnside and Papanui. Frs Alister Castillo, Edwin Colaco, SBD, and Kevin Wei will
be assistant priests.

The South Christchurch area will consist of Addington- Beckenham and Hoon Hay & Halswell parishes and will have Fr Peter Head, SM, as parish priest of the two parishes and Frs Phil Bennenbroek, SM, and Barry Malone, SM, as assistant priests.

Christchurch East and Ferrymead parishes will make up the East Christchurch area with Fr Benito Velasco as parish priest of the two parishes and Frs Costello and Paulo Filoialii as assistant priests.

The West Christchurch area, consisting of Riccarton, Sockburn and Hornby-Darfield parishes, will have Fr Michael Therese Scheerger, CSJ, as parish priest of the three parishes and Frs Sean-Mary Britto, CSJ, and Philip Suelzer, CSJ, as assistant priests.

Fr Simon Eccleton was appointed Administrator of the St Mary’s Pro-Cathedral and Mairehau parish priest.

These parishes will comprise the Central Christchurch area. Assistant priests are Frs Job Thyikalamuriyil and Thanh Tran.

The Selwyn area includes Lincoln and Leeston parishes. Fr Brian Fennessey will be parish priest of the two parishes. Fr Chris Orr is assistant parish priest.

Bishop Martin said clergy appointments for the remainder of 2020 include Fr Mathew Siji, MCBS, and Fr Dan Doyle as parish priest and assistant priest, respectively, for Greymouth parish; Fr Joaquin Camano as Hokitika parish priest; Fr Michael Pui as Hurunui parish priest; Fr Denis Nolan and Fr Huynh Tran as parish priest and assistant parish priest, respectively, for Mid-Canterbury parish; Fr Chris Friel and Fr Do Nguyen as parish priest and assistant parish priest, respectively for Timaru and Waimate parish; Fr John Adams as parish priest of Waimakariri parish with Frs Tien Cao and Arsène Kapya as assistant priests.

Bishop Martin said there are no clergy changes in Akaroa, Opihi, Mackenzie or South Westland parishes.

He also announced the retirements of Fr Bryan Parish (January 26) and Fr Dan Doyle (Pentecost).

Wellington and Palmerston North

Cardinal John Dew made the clergy appointments for Wellington archdiocese and for Palmerston North diocese.

In Palmerston North, Fr Marcus Francis was appointed parish priest of the Parish of Hastings; Fr Vaughan Leslie (on loan from Dunedin diocese) as parish priest of the Parish of Whanganui; Fr Vince Onesi as parish priest of the parishes of Pahiatua and Dannevirke; Fr Anthony Zaw Tun as assistant priest of the Parish of Hastings; and Fr Joseph Saw Tha Khu as assistant priest of the Parish of Hawera. Their appointments will take place on the first weekend of February.

Starting in June, Fr Brian Carmine is appointed to the North Taranaki Pastoral Area, residing in Waitara. Fr Freddie Barte is to remain as parish priest in Waitara and Inglewood. Deacon Trung Nguyen is appointed, after priestly ordination, as assistant priest of the Parish of Hastings.

In Wellington, Cardinal Dew appointed Fr David Dowling as parish priest of Sacred Heart Cathedral Parish; Fr Douglas Shepherd as parish priest of the
Catholic Parish of Wellington South; Fr John Pettit, OSCO, as administrator of Sacred Heart (Reefton), and Fr Giltus Matthias, CP, as parish priest of Star of the Sea-Marlborough with Frs Jacob Kuman, CP, and Thomas Nuygen Nhu Than, CP, as assistant priests; Fr Kevin Mowbray, SM, as parish priest of St Mary of the Angels.

Fr Dennis Nacorda was assigned to parish ministry of Parish of St Mary and Joseph (Otaki and Levin) and one year study of te reo and tikanga. These appointments will take effect on February 23.

In the meantime, the cardinal also advised that Fr Cirilo Barlis will move to Melbourne to discern a vocation with the Society of Jesus. Also, the Capuchin Fathers will no longer be able to provide priests from October this year.


Dunedin Bishop Michael Dooley announced the following appointments in his diocese.

Fr Sani Lam is appointed parish priest of Alexandra Pastoral Area effective on the last weekend of January, replacing Fr Leslie who is on loan to Palmerston North diocese for three years.

Fr Jaewoo Lee is appointed pro tem as assistant priest at St Mary’s Basilica serving the Central Invercargill/South Invercargill Pastoral Area. He will take up his appointment on the last weekend of January.

Fr Fivins Chittilappilly, IC, of the Rosminian order is appointed assistant priest at Mercy Parish, South Dunedin. He will take up his appointment on the weekend of 25/26 January.

Fr Fredy Permentilla, MSP, is appointed chaplain at Wakari Hospital and Ashburn Hall, Dunedin.

Bishop Dooley said Fr Vaughan Hook is on medical leave for treatment of his (Fr Hook’s) illness.


Hamilton Bishop Stephen Lowe announced the following clergy appointments:

Fr Rico Enriquez, parish priest of Opotiki; Fr Joseph George, assistant priest of Te Awamutu, Otorohanga, Te Kuiti and Syro-Malabar chaplain for Rotorua and Tauranga, residing in Te Kuiti; Fr Tovio Iusitino, assistant priest, Gisborne; Fr Gerard Paterson, Mission with Māori, residing in Rotorua; Fr Matt McAuslin, residing in Waihi with Fr Aidan Mulholland; Fr Arnold Punzalan, assistant priest Tauranga Moana; Fr Jack Smith, Mission with Māori, residing in Rotorua; and Fr Prakash Somu, assistant priest, St Mary of the Cross Pastoral Area, Rotorua.

Bishop Lowe also said seminarian Adam Kirkeby’s pastoral placement will be at Holy Cross parish, Hamilton North.


Auckland Bishop Patrick Dunn made the following appointments: Fr Mario Dorado, OFM Cap, parish priest Blockhouse Bay; Fr Simone Ah Lo, SM, parish priest Dargaville; Fr Francis Poon in residence Epsom until June; Fr Samuel Pulanco, parish priest Hillsborough; Fr Austin Fernandes, parish priest Meadowbank; Fr Richard Cortes, MSP, parish priest Mid-North Parishes; Fr Pio Fong Waqavotuwale, SM, parish priest Otahuhu; Fr Maliu ‘Otutaha, parish priest Panguru/Pawarenga; Fr Gilbert Ramos, parish priest Waiuku/Tuakau and Fr Brian Lange, parish priest Warkworth (including

The following were appointed assistant parish priests: Fr Tony King-Archer at St Patrick’s Cathedral; Fr Alejandro (Alex) de la Sotta, SVD, at East Coast Bays; Fr Shane Reade, SDB, at Massey (including Ranui), Fr Ramil Hamil, MSP, at Okaihau; Fr Marchellino Park at Northcote; Fr Martin Wu at Otara / Clover Park and Fr Carlo Cruz at Takapuna.

Bishop Dunn also appointed Fr Dorado as Filipino community chaplain, Fr Roy Noeng, CSsR, as Indonesian community chaplain and Fr Alejandro de la Sotta, SVD, as Latin American community chaplain.

Fr Christopher Brady retires after January 31 and Fr Savelio Tevaga retired after December 31.

Meanwhile, Fr Ruatamaki Ambo has returned to Kiribati, Fr Ralph Barcelo returned to the Philippines, Fr Joseph Pham, SDB, left for Vietnam and Fr Wieslaw Pawlowski, SChr, is taking up a new appointment in Australia.

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