John Adams ordained bishop of Palmerston North

People from Christchurch joined with those from Palmerston North to fill the Palmerston North Holy Spirit Cathedral on Saturday for the episcopal ordination of John Adams.

Adams was ordained bishop by the President of the New Zealand Bishops Conference and Bishop of Auckland, Steve Lowe and also installed as the third bishop of Palmerston North.

Among the co-consecrating bishops was the emeritus first bishop of Palmerston North, Peter Cullinane and the emeritus Coadjutor Bishop, Owen Dolan who recently celebrated his 95th birthday.

Also in attendance, representing Pope Francis, was the Apolstoic Nuncio, His Excellency Archbishop Novatus Rugambwa.

By way of formality, Lowe welcomed Rugambwa, thanking him for Adams’ appointment.

The diocese has been waiting for four years for a new bishop.

To the laughter of the large congregation, Lowe then gently reminded Rugambwa still has another job to complete: the appointment of a new bishop for Hamilton.

Rugambwa is responsible for recommending priests to Cardinal Louis Tagle, head of the Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples, for their appointment as bishops in New Zealand.

Rugambwa read the letter of appointment from Pope Francis and afterwards held it high, showing it to the people and clergy.

Lowe ,while bishop of Auckland, still remains apostolic administrator of the Hamilton diocese.

Towards the end of the ordination liturgy, Adams spoke to the well-wishing congregation, saying that prior to the ordination he was given good advice.

“There’s only one thing worse than a boring homily, and that’s a long boring homily” he said.

Adams said he would be short, the all-knowing congregation laughed politely.

To his credit, without being rushed, he was short.

Despite describing his own abilities as “surely modest”, Adams said that he was confident in approaching the role of Bishop of Palmerston North.

He then reminded everyone of Luke’s gospel, saying he was not alone and the Holy Spirit accompanied him.

“Anything is possible for God,” reflected Adams.

Principal ordaining Bishop, Stephen Lowe pours oil of chrism anointing Bishop Elect’s head.

At times, an emotional Adams paused when thanking his family.

His mother was in the congregation, as were his brother and sister-in-law.

Saddened that his brother Tony and sister Maria were not able to join him today, he said it was a joy to come from a loving family.

Adams shared that not long after his appointment was announced, he was also informed that he needed to have open heart surgery and that during the course of the surgery, his heart was stopped for 90 minutes.

“What was the Lord doing?” he asked himself until he discovered the word Manawatu means to have a still heart.

“The Lord is mysterious in his providence.”

Speaking words of thanks to numerous people and groups towards the end of his speech, Adams also addressed his brother priests, thanking them for the hospitable welcome to this person from Christchurch.

In return, he said he wanted to be a wise and loving father for them.

In conclusion, Adams also thanked his brother bishops, saying he is learning practically from them what it means to be a bishop and that he is looking forward to sharing the “happy burden” with them.

Reflecting on the Gospel, Adams opined that our common discipleship will have great power and efficacy if it is lived with Jesus, but he realised that even in Jesus’ time, not all shared this view.

Indeed, he commented that in the Synagogue, soon after Jesus claimed to have the Holy Spirit with him, ‘they’ tried to take him and throw him off a cliff.

“I was greatly comforted when I flew into Palmerston North to notice there weren’t too many cliffs around this place.”

Adams said he is looking forward to joining the people of Palmerston North in ‘our’ attempts to keep Jesus Christ alive.


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