HAMILTON — The timetable for merging Hamilton diocese parishes is on track despite a message in a parish newsletter, says diocese general manager Greg Scmidt.
In the June 22 newsletter for the parish of St Mary Immaculate Tauranga, parish priest Msgr Frank Eggleton stated that Bishop Denis Browne had asked him to become the parish priest
of St Mary’s, Gisborne, effective from August 2.
“With sadness I said ‘Yes’. I really enjoy being a part of this wonderful parish and will be leaving many very dear friends. But saying ‘No’ to such a request is not an option. I believe
God’s will is spoken to us through our bishop, and blessings always come when God’s will is embraced.”
Fr Mark Field will transfer from Rotorua to be parish priest in Tauranga, Msgr Eggleton wrote. Fr Eamon Kennedy will replace Fr Field in Rotorua.“Fr Eamon is presently the parish priest of two Hamilton parishes: Hillcrest and Te Rapa.”
Therefore, Msgr Eggleton concluded, the Hamilton diocesan plan will be actioned a little earlier than anticipated, “with Hillcrest and the cathedral becoming one parish, and Te Rapa and Fairfield parish becoming one parish in August”.
Mr Schmidt told NZ Catholic that outline was not quite the case. Those changes in priest locations were needed, he said, because Fr Yvan Sergy was moving from Gisborne to the
Marquesas Islands. Because of that and consequential changes, Te Rapa and Fairfield would merge in several weeks. However, overall planning for the merging of parishes in the diocese
was still to the original timetable.
“They are meant to have the plans in place by the end of the year,” Mr Schmidt said, “but [they] may not be operational by that stage.”