Filipino ordained coadjutor bishop of Rarotonga


Filipino Fr Reynaldo Bunyi Getalado was ordained Coadjutor Bishop of Rarotonga on Saturday.

In what is described as “a significant and deeply moving” ordination ceremony, the Catholic Diocese of Rarotonga, Cook Islands, witnessed the beginning of a new chapter.

The ordination signalled the end of 53 years’ New Zealand leadership in the diocese.

A sign of the times is that today a quarter of the Catholic population of the Cook Islands is made up of migrant workers from the Philippines, Fiji, Kiribati and Indonesia as well as from other Pacific Islands.

The current bishop of the Cook Islands Paul Donoghue was the principal consecrator.

When Donoghue retires, Getalado will be installed as Bishop of Rarotonga.

Among those at the ordination ceremony were an archbishop, five bishops, 11 priests and the Pope’s representative Fr Giosuè Busti.

Busti is also the First Secretary-Deputy Head of Mission at the Apostolic Nunciature of the Holy See in Wellington.

Unified diversity

One of those who attended the ceremony, Sister Elizabeth Browne-Russell, describes the ceremony as “extraordinary”.

“This particular ordination was in a way unique and extraordinarily well organised … the people just came together” Sister Elizabeth says.

Catholics from Fiji, Kiribati and the Philippines who are living on the island for work purposes joined with locals and clergy to celebrate the ordination.

Others came from the Pa Enua (Rarotonga’s outer islands).

“We are a universal church, so the fact that they are here and have very much become a part of the celebrations really does show the universality of the Catholic Church.”

The universal church theme was evident in the hymns chosen for the ordination. They were sung in the Cook Islands Māori, English, Fijian (iTaukei) and Filipino languages.


A ‘who’s who’ of senior Catholic clergy from the Pacific came together to celebrate the ordination.

Joining Donoghue were Bishop Ryan Jimenez, Bishop of Chalan Kanoa, Saipan and president of CEPAC (Conferentia Episcopalis Pacifici). Assisting him was Archbishop Jean-Pierre Cottanceau SS.CC, Archbishop of Papeete, French Polynesia.

In addition, the ordination’s concelebrants included Bishop Peter Brown, Bishop of Samoa and Apostolic Administrator, and Bishop Paschal Chang Soi SS.CC, Diocese of Taiohae o Tefenuanata, Tahiti.


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