Christchurch Bishop Michael Gielen announced long-time Christchurch Vicar-General Fr Rick Loughnan had been bestowed by Pope Francis the title of monsignor.
“It is with joy I announce that Fr Rick Loughnan has been honoured by his Holiness Pope Francis with the title of Monsignor, which designates him as a Chaplain of the Holy Father.
“This honour has been bestowed upon Monsignor Rick in recognition of his many years of faithful and humble service to both the local and national Church,” Bishop Gielen said.
“I join with you in congratulating Monsignor Rick and his family on this special occasion.”
The title which dates back to the 14th century is given to a priest who has distinguished himself by many years of exceptional service to the Church. It would not affect Fr Loughnan’s duties or ministerial assignment.
In 2016, after Bishop Barry Jones passed away, Fr Loughnan was elected the administrator of the diocese by the College of Consultors.
He ran the diocese for about two years until Pope Francis appointed the previous Christchurch bishop, now Wellington archbishop, Paul Martin SM at the end of 2017.
Monsignor Loughnan is currently the parish priest of the Catholic Parish of Christchurch North which is comprised of the former parishes of Bryndwr, Burnside and Papanui.