Cardinal Dew resigns but will be busy in many roles

Cardinal John Dew at his desk.

Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of Cardinal John Dew as Archbishop of Wellington. The cardinal turned 75 on May 5.

He is succeeded by Archbishop Paul Martin, SM, who becomes Wellington’s eighth archbishop.

In his last newsletter, Cardinal Dew explained that canon law requires that bishops offer their resignation to the Holy Father when they reach the age of 75.

“It is with sadness that I say goodbye, and an enormous THANK YOU to you all. I will still be about

and look forward to being involved in the life of the archdiocese in other ways,” the cardinal said.

“I wish Paul every blessing, and ask that you support him in the same way as you have supported me.”

However, Cardinal Dew will remain as apostolic administrator of the Diocese of Palmerston North, and will continue with his various Vatican roles, involving the Dicastery for Evangelisation, the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, the Dicastery for Promoting Christian Unity, and the College of Cardinals. He will be able to take part in papal elections until he is 80.

“Many years ago, when the New Zealand bishops met Pope St John Paul II during an ad limina visit to

Rome, one of our bishops said to him, ‘Holy Father, I would not have your job for all the money in

the world.’ The Pope looked up and said, ‘It is a privilege.’ I can honestly say that this has been a

privilege for me,” Cardinal Dew said.

He admitted to having faced so many challenges, and said that he had to be “resolute” at times about “taking the road to Jerusalem” (Luke 9:51).

“I have always loved this part of Luke’s Gospel, which follows straight after the experience of Jesus on the Mount of Transfiguration. It is a reminder that, when we have encountered Jesus in prayer,  we can be resolute in dealing with challenges and difficulties,” he said.

“Never forget that we are all the chosen and beloved daughters and sons of God. We are privileged to walk together in our Church, our family of faith.”

Cardinal Dew thanked everyone for their prayers, love and support.

Archbishop Martin, for his part, thanked the cardinal for serving the Church and the Wellington archdiocese with distinction.

“We wish Cardinal John well in his retirement, which I am sure will be an active one,” said Archbishop Martin. “He has guided the Archdiocese of Wellington through many challenges and major changes, always with a very pastoral approach. He has also had many demanding national roles in the Church, and we will miss him.”

Archbishop Martin will be formally installed as Archbishop of Wellington on Saturday, June 17, at St Teresa’s Pro-Cathedral in Karori.

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Rowena Orejana

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