A New Zealand priest, Fr John Larsen SM, has been elected superior general of the Society of Mary.

Fr Larsen succeeds Fr John Hannan and is the first non-European to hold the position in 24 years.

The election took place at the Society of Mary’s general chapter in Rome last month.

Fr Larsen entered Mount St Mary’s Seminary in Hawkes Bay, in 1974.

After ordination in 1981, he taught for five years at St Patrick’s College, Silverstream, during which time he volunteered for the foreign missions.

As well as the experience of mission in developing countries, Fr Larsen has been involved in the formation of Marist priests and occupied the position of novice master, and formator both in philosophy and theology houses in the Philippines.

His most recent appointment was as Rector of the Marist International Theologate in Rome.

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