This morning Pope Francis has appointed Fr. Steve Lowe, priest of the diocese of Christchurch, as the next bishop of the diocese of Hamilton, New Zealand. This immense loss for the diocese of Christchurch is a great grace for the diocese of Hamilton.
Only three weeks ago Steve returned to the diocese of Christchurch after seven years serving as formation director at Holy Cross Seminary. I was personally delighted at his return since he is one of my close friends. You will appreciate therefore that my feelings are mixed as he prepares to move north, but I have no doubt that his appointment to Hamilton is proof that the Holy Spirit is working powerfully in choosing good bishops for the Church of New Zealand.
It is customary for a priest at the time of his ordination to the priesthood to issue a prayer card with an inspirational quote encouraging people to pray for him. When Steve was ordained in his hometown of Hokitika in 1996, the text he chose was from the hymn When I survey the Wondrous Cross:
Love so amazing, so divine, demands my soul, my life, my all.
I have no doubt that Steve, a man of great love of God and prayer, is this morning especially aware of the demands of discipleship. I encourage all Food For Faith readers to join me in praying for him as he begins this new mission, that he may be overwhelmed anew with God’s love so amazing, so divine.
This morning’s formal announcement of the appointment of Bishop Stephen Lowe can be found online at the Vatican Radio website: www.radiovaticana.va.