Christchurch diocese priest appointed as national director of MissioNZ (Pontifical Mission Societies in NZ)


Father Michael Pui – the parish priest of Good Shepherd Parish, Hurunui, in North Canterbury – has been appointed national director of MissioNZ, the local face of the Pontifical Mission Societies.

He takes over from Fr Bernard Espiritu, SVD, the national director since 2012.

The Pontifical Mission Societies are a group of four missionary bodies under the jurisdiction of the Pope via the Vatican’s Dicastery for Evangelisation. On December 2, 2022, Pope Francis appointed Italian Archbishop Emilio Nappa as adjunct secretary of the new Dicastery for Evangelisation, with the office of president of the Pontifical Mission Societies.

The societies connect local churches to the Catholic Church’s missionary work around the world. They are perhaps best known to most people for overseeing the World Missions Sunday collection on the third Sunday of October each year in all Catholic parishes around the world.

Fr Pui was ordained in Christchurch in 2000 by Bishop John Cunneen after a secular career as an engineer with the former Electricorp and Foundation for Research, Science and Technology. He has served as parish priest in several Christchurch diocese parishes, most recently at Good Shepherd, Hurunui, since 2020.

“I am taking up the position with some trepidation, and also with some sadness at the thought that I will no longer be a parish priest among my flock,” Fr Pui said.

“The role of the national director is far more than dealing only with the collection of Mission Sunday, or generating a revenue to fund mission work in the world.”

It includes promoting a missionary sense within local parishes, religious institutions and schools with particular attention to World Mission Sunday, and establishing a stable and good relationship with the bishop who liaises with MissioNZ within the NZ Catholic Bishops Conference, currently Bishop Michael Gielen, Bishop of Christchurch.

“I think in time I will be visiting all the parishes in New Zealand, on weekends!” Fr Pui said.

Bishop Gielen said: “Fr Michael has shown his great passion for mission, outreach and evangelisation in his priestly ministry. In this new role, he will carry that zeal around the country to serve the national Church, and ultimately the Church’s missionary efforts around the world.”

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NZ Catholic Staff

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