Bp. Barry on Chats

Feb 17, 2016

One of the first phone calls I made on hearing of the death of Bishop Barry Jones on Saturday morning was to the furthest periphery of the diocese of Christchurch, the Chatham Islands. For almost ten years now I have served as Parish Priest of the Chathams. To serve as priest for this remote community is a privilege, and my hope is that in the near future the Chathams will again have a resident priest. Bishop Barry also shared this hope.

It was a privilege to accompany Bishop Barry to the Chathams on his pastoral visitation in December 2014. We spent five days together visiting both Chatham and Pitt Islands, celebrating Baptisms, Confirmations and First Communions, and spending time at Waitangi (the main settlement on Chatham), Owenga, Te One and Kaingaroa, as well as Pitt Island. On the morning we were to leave Pitt the weather closed in and we spent an extra day relaxing together at the home of Bo Lanauze.

Some of the pastoral situations we faced in those days were complex. I wondered how the bishop’s clear conviction of thinking and acting with the Church would survive when face to face with some of the very difficult realities that presented. So often the “pastoral” action is seen as the overlooking of Church teaching and doctrine, and the holding to doctrine is viewed as “un-pastoral.”

What I witnessed in Bishop Barry in those Chathams days was a skilled pastor in action. He compromised nothing of what was essential and led every person he was with to a greater maturity of Catholic faith. There was a real sadness among those I spoke with on Saturday and again this morning.

I thought you might appreciate some of the photos of the visitation, from Waitangi , Kaiangaroa, Owenga (with Tommy Solomon) and Pitt Island.

May he rest in peace.




















Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Latest Posts



I try not to repeat these daily Lenten posts year to year but there are times when the same scriptures pop up annually and I realise that I can’t write it better than I did last year. Today is one such day, not only because of the thought I share but even more in the comments that are added by FFF readers. Today I have left some of last year’s comments helping us to appreciate the power of today’s readings.

my word your home

my word your home

The heart of the home in years past was the hearth.
It was at the hearth that the family gathered for the warmth and light of the flame and the food that was prepared there.
The fire was treated with respect since the same flame which provided energy for the home could just as easily destroy it.

stand up look up

stand up look up

The Israelites in their forty years in the desert were journeying from captivity to freedom, but the struggle of their desert years made them vulnerable to attack from every temptation as today’s first reading continues

confident in God

confident in God

I’m not sure if children today are told the great story of the Emperor’s New Clothes, but if not let’s make sure that the parable is taught at all schools of higher learning.

the teenagers

the teenagers

A few years ago I discovered the wonderful way that God uses my imagination in my prayer.
Such openness to imagination when seeking God does not take us away from reality into fantasy but instead brings me into what is most real and inescapably personal and intimate.