On 30 September, a significant number of Christchurch Catholics were among the 700 who crowded the Cathedral of the Holy Spirit in Palmerston North for the ordination and installation of Most Rev John Adams as its third bishop. In a Mass with Bishop Stephen Lowe of Auckland as presider, the richness of the Rite of Ordination of a Bishop was witnessed by all.
Of particular interest to Inform readers are comments made by Bishop Adams in his concluding observations. “In June, I was phoned by the Apostolic Nuncio, Archbishop Novatus Rugambwa, to ask if I would accept the post of bishop. I did so with a mixture of honour and trepidation, the latter not least as I was about to have open-heart surgery. During the operation, my heart was stopped for 90 minutes. ‘What is the lord doing?’ I remember asking myself, until I discovered that the word ‘Manawatū’ means ‘to have a still heart’.”
From the heart, he addressed his brother priests of the Christchurch Diocese, saying “I also leave behind the family I had expected to serve out my days with in Christchurch. Led by Bishop Michael Gielen, my brother priests from Christchurch - many of whom are with us today - have been nothing but gracious in their farewell to me. A sign of this graciousness being this crosier I hold; a gift from them. Thank you brothers.”
Many from Christchurch stayed on to join Bishop Adams in a solemn choral Mass in his cathedral the following day, the music for which was provided by our Cathedral Choir and Orchestra. Many travellers then returned home, but not before dealing with extreme winds which disrupted the flight plans of New Zealanders in the first week of October. (The Mass of Ordination remains available on youtube.)
Published in Inform Issue 139 - Advent 2023