The Holy Father has appointed Fr Stephen Lowe as the next Bishop of the Hamilton Diocese. Bishop-Elect Stephen Lowe is the third Bishop of Hamilton and succeeds Bishop Denis Browne whose resignation has been accepted by the Holy Father. This is the first appointment by Pope Francis of a New Zealand Bishop.
“We are grateful that Bishop-Elect Stephen Lowe has accepted the call to this special ministry, and on behalf of all the New Zealand Bishops I express our support and welcome as he becomes part of our New Zealand Catholic Bishops Conference. We have no doubt that he will bring a valuable perspective to our discussions,” said Archbishop John Dew, President of the New Zealand Catholic Bishops Conference.
In 1996 Bishop-Elect Lowe was ordained a priest for the Diocese of Christchurch, serving in parishes throughout the Diocese. He has spent the last six years serving at Holy Cross Seminary in Auckland, the national Catholic Seminary, as Director of Formation.
Hearing of the announcement Bishop Browne said, “I am delighted that Hamilton will receive a Bishop with such pastoral sensitivities and expertise both of which Bishop-Elect Stephen has. His pastoral experience in parishes and his brilliant term as director of formation will all serve him well and he will be warmly welcomed to Hamilton Diocese.
“For myself looking back over nearly 38 years as a Bishop in three difference Dioceses, I am grateful for the wonderful support and loyalty that I have received from Clergy, Religious and the Laity.”
As news of his appointment was announced Bishop-Elect Stephen Lowe said “It has been a humbling and overwhelming experience to have been called to be the third Bishop of Hamilton. I look forward now to meeting the people, religious, deacons and priests of Hamilton Diocese and to work with and serve them as their Bishop. As I do so I am conscious of Bishop Denis Browne’s faithful service as bishop and I look forward to learning from him and the Diocesan family as I take up my new ministry.”
Archbishop John Dew said “I would like to take this opportunity to express our sincere gratitude to Bishop Denis Browne for his dedicated service as Bishop of Hamilton for the last 20 years, and his valuable contribution to the Church in New Zealand since his ordination to the priesthood 52 years ago.”
“Bishop Denis has always approached his vocation as Bishop in a prayerful and faithful way. He always puts people first, and their needs are always at the forefront of his decisions.” Said Archbishop Dew.