deep sadness

Last evening we received the tragic news of the death of one of our youngest priests in a road accident. Graeme Blackburn was ordained on 1 July last year.

Our prayers are with and for Erin his mother, his family, his many friends, and for us his diocesan family of Christchurch.

Our shared grief is real and our tears are heart-felt at the loss of Graeme who was deeply loved as a family member, friend, pastor, and for us priests as a brother priest of the Christchurch diocese.

We are united in our grief. Let us be united too in our hope.

Just before Christmas Graeme wrote in his parish newsletter: “remember that God is always faithful to his promise. Regardless of what adversity we face, there is always a way through. Put another way, there is always hope.”

Graeme became a priest to help us to understand this hope in the midst of our adversities and griefs. As we struggle to come to terms with the tragic news of Graeme’s death may we be encouraged by his words.

Please join us all in praying for the happy repose of the soul of Fr. Graeme, perhaps using the words of the Collect of the Mass for the funeral of a priest:

Grant we pray. O Lord
That the soul of Graeme your servant and Priest,
whom you honoured with sacred office,
while he lived in this world
may exault for ever in the glorious home of heaven,
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit
one God, for ever and ever.

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