Paul Martin is the new bishop of Christchurch


A new Catholic bishop of Christchurch has been appointed nearly two years after the death of his predecessor bishop Barry Jones.

Father Paul Martin will be 10th Catholic Bishop of Christchurch. His ordination is expected to be next year, possibly in February.

One of the important issues he will need to address is the restoration of the quake-damaged Blessed Sacrament Cathedral.

As news of his appointment was announced, Martin said “I’d like to express what a privilege it is to be chosen to serve in the Diocese of Christchurch as bishop, following in the footsteps of those before me. I am really looking forward to taking up this ministry and leading the diocese.”

Bishop Patrick Dunn, President of the New Zealand Catholic Bishops Conference welcomed the appointment.

“We know that he will bring a new voice and a valuable perspective to our discussions,” he said.

“It is wonderful for Christchurch that they will receive a bishop who has worked with a range of communities, has extensive pastoral experience and comes to the role with a wealth of knowledge and expertise.”

Dunn also took the opportunity to thank Father Rick Loughnan who has been the Diocesan Administrator in Christchurch since the death of Jones.

Loughnan has welcome the appoint of the new bishop too. “We are delighted with the appointment by Pope Francis and look forward to welcoming bishop-elect Paul with open arms,” he said.

Provincial of the Society of Mary, Fr David Kennerley said Martin has a broad range of talents. “Administratively very capable, people readily acknowledge his warm pastoral approach”, he said.

Martin was born in Hastings in 1967, one of five children. He entered formation for the Society of Mary in February 1985 and studied in theology and arts at Victoria University in Wellington.

He completed a Baccalaureate in Sacred Theology from the Angelicum University in Rome and studied to become a teacher.

Martin taught english and religious education in New Zealand and has held the roles of rector at St Patrick’s College in Wellington and Deputy Rector in Pastoral Care at St Bede’s College, Christchurch.

Although his main ministry has been in education, after his ordination in 1993 he spent time as part of the Māori pastoral team in the South Hokianga. He was also a chaplain at Hato Paora College in 2002 and 2003.

Read the New Zealand Catholic Bishops’ Conference Media release.


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News category: New Zealand, Top Story.

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