Fr David Dowling appointed Rector at Holy Cross Seminary Auckland

Father David Dowling has been appointed the new rector of Holy Cross Seminary in Auckland.

The appointment has been confirmed by the Vatican’s Dicastery for Evangelisation. Fr David is at present the Human Formator at Holy Cross. He will take over the role in April from the present Interim Rector, Bishop Emeritus Colin Campbell.

Holy Cross Seminary is the national seminary for the education and formation of diocesan priests for the Catholic Church in New Zealand.

Fr David is a priest of the Archdiocese of Wellington whose priestly journey began when he entered Holy Cross in 2001 after an 18-year career as a Customs officer. A born Wellingtonian and proud supporter of the Hurricanes, he attended St Patrick’s College, Wellington before his Customs career. He studied for the priesthood at Holy Cross from 2001 to 2007 and was ordained in Wellington on 1 September 2007 by Cardinal John Dew. He has a Bachelor of Theology degree from Sydney College of Divinity and a Graduate Diploma in Theology from Good Shepherd College.

Fr David says he is committed as Rector to following the example of Pope Francis in cultivating the joy of the Gospel with a sense of being part of God’s people.

“I am inspired and encouraged by the teaching of Pope Francis, who sees priestly formation as service, not simply as the transmission of a body of teachings, but also the art of concentrating on others, bringing out all their beauty and all the good that they carry within.

“As Francis has said, ‘we can only be missionary disciples all together.’ As a human formator at the seminary, I have endeavoured to encourage and challenge our seminarians to be fully human, mature, and capable of healthy relationships. We minister through our humanity and personality, opening ourselves to being transformed by the Spirit of Jesus.

“I hope to help form our seminarians to understand what it means to live ‘generative service’, which Pope Francis describes as ‘the identity card’ of Christ’s ministers.”

Bishop of Auckland Stephen Lowe, who is President of the NZ Catholic Bishops Conference, says the bishops are delighted with Fr David’s appointment as Rector.

“He is a prayerful man, who has had a rich pastoral experience as a priest of Wellington and who has done an excellent job of being the Human Formator. These qualities will enrich his overseeing the forming of the new priests for our dioceses,” said Bishop Lowe.

Bishop Emeritus Campbell has been Interim Rector since April 2023, after the former rector, Fr Mathew Vadakkevettuvazhiyil, left.