Last Friday, 13 February, my husband Peter and I were privileged to attend the episcopal ordination of Bishop Stephen in the Cathedral of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Hamilton. It was the most joyous and uplifting occasion as well as being a very significant event in the life of the Hamilton Diocese. Bishop Stephen was being ordained as the third Bishop of the Diocese of Hamilton to succeed Bishop Denis Browne who is retiring after 38 years as a Bishop, 20 years of which were as the 2nd Bishop of Hamilton Bishop Denis was the Principal Consecrating Bishop assisted by Bishop Barry Jones from Christchurch and Bishop Charles Drennan from Palmerston North. The Mass was concelebrated with Cardinal Tom Williams and 8 other Bishops in presence, a number of civic dignitaries as well as many priests, religious, members of Bishop Stephen’s family and representation from all the parishes and schools throughout the Diocese.
The Mass contained the sacred and ancient rituals for an episcipal ordination and was magnificent! Following the consecration as Bishop, Bishop Stephen was presented with his symbols of office- the Bishop’s ring, the mitre and crosier. In presenting the crosier Bishop Stephen was asked to accept the staff as a sign of his pastoral office and to keep watch over the whole flock.
During the concluding Rites Bishop Stephen asked everyone to pray for him as he began his role of shepherd of the Hamilton Diocese. It was quite amazing that just as he was reminding all present that Jesus Christ is the light we should all follow the sun at that moment suddenly streamed in through the Cathedral’s large window beaming directly on him. He commented that the Lord’s timing is always impeccable!
We look forward to welcoming Bishop to St Mary’s School in due course. Those families who have students making their first Communion and Confirmation on the 24th May will have the opportunity to meet him then.
With kind regards and God Bless