Four deceased bishops and priest to be disinterred in Christchurch

The remains of four bishops, which Christchurch Catholic diocese is applying to disinter from their graves in earthquake-damaged structures, will likely be buried alongside other deceased bishops and priests at Bromley.

But NZ Catholic understands a decision has yet to be made as to their final resting places in relation to the new planned Catholic Cathedral in Christchurch.

Stuff reported that the diocese had applied to disinter the remains of Bishop John Grimes, Bishop Edward Joyce and Bishop John Cunneen from under the floor of a side-chapel in the Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament.

This is in preparation for the planned demolition of the cathedral, which Bishop Paul Martin, SM, can undertake in accordance with emergency earthquake powers, known as a section 38, granted in 2015.

The diocese has also reportedly applied to disinter the remains of Bishop Matthew Brodie and Fr Laurentine Ginaty from their resting places in the earthquake-damaged St John of God hospital chapel in Halswell. The future of this building is reportedly uncertain.

A Christchurch diocese spokesman, Tony Sewell, was reported as saying the disinterment application process included a public notice looking for relatives of the deceased bishops. Any living family members would be consulted on where the bishops would be reburied.

The disinterments were steps that should be completed before the section 38 powers are invoked.

NZ Catholic asked Christchurch diocese general manager Andy Doherty if there is a possibility that the bishops could eventually be laid to rest in the planned new Christchurch Catholic cathedral, adjacent to Victoria Square and scheduled for completion in 2025.

Mr Doherty said that “we are still in the early stages of the new cathedral planning process”.

“Our current plan is to bury the bishops and priest alongside our other [deceased] bishops and priests,” Mr Doherty said.

“A decision will be made later as to the final resting place, and the future cathedral.”

A contractor has reportedly been found to demolish the Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament.

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