Fr Tim Duckworth, SM, has been elected to become New Zealand provincial of the Society of Mary, starting in early 2020. He succeeds Fr David Kennerley, SM.

In his 37 years of priesthood, Fr Duckworth has served the Society of Mary and the Church in many ways. He has a number of educational qualifications: a Baccalaureate in Theology, and an LTCL in speech, a BA in Psychology and Zoology, a Diploma in Teaching and later, a Masters in Organisation Development from Loyola University (US).

In his early years as a priest, he taught in Society of Mary colleges (St Patrick’s College, Silverstream, St John’s College, Hastings and St Bede’s College, Christchurch) .

Since then, Fr Duckworth has worked with religious orders as facilitator at chapters and assemblies, as well as with dioceses, for not-for-profit organisations as well as in commercial enterprises. He has been part of the Society of Mary’s New Zealand Provincial Council in 1997 and was vicar provincial from 2002 to 2004 (a role to which he returned in 2016 and which he currently holds, along with duties as provincial bursar).

Crisis management and experience in professional standards have also been part of his ministry, as well as working in continuing education, serving on the boards of St Bede’s, St
Patrick’s College, Wellington, Hato Paora College, Feilding, St John’s, Hastings and on the Good Shepherd College Senate in Auckland. On returning to Wellington after a sabbatical year in 2005, he resumed duties in facilitation and supervision and in working on special projects for the province. These
projects included the reconfiguration working party, youth ministry and the reorganising of the Logos Project for
young people.

Asked about future directions for the Society of Mary in this country, Fr Duckworth said it is indeed a difficult and challenging time to be in leadership in the Church. “Society and the Church face a rapidly changing future and the Marist charism is well suited to these challenging times,” he said.

“Our focus will be on spreading the Gospel of justice and charity with mercy and reconciliation and doing so as Mary — Jesus’ first disciple — did. I recognise the faith the members of the society have expressed in choosing me for
this role.”

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