Wellington Cardinal celebrates 50 years of priesthood

Wellington Cardinal Thomas Williams will celebrate his golden jubilee of priesthood and 30 years of being a bishop this Sunday 20th December.

Events will begin on Friday 18th December with 5pm Mass at Sacred Heart Cathedral and a clergy gathering.

On Sunday 20th December the Cardinal will celebrate 10am Mass at the Cathedral, which will be followed by a get-together with family and friends.

Cardinal Williams, 79, was ordained in Rome in 1959. He became the Archbishop of Wellington in 1979, on the 20th anniversary of his priestly ordination. Just over three years later he was made a Cardinal by Pope John Paul II.

The Cardinal has studied in Dublin and Rome. He has worked in Samoa and as well as being Archbishop of Wellington has held a number of national appointments in the New Zealand Church. He is well known inside and outside the Church as an active Christian leader involved in a wide range of social issues.

In 2000 he was awarded the Order of New Zealand by the Governor General.

A book “In His Own Words” was published as a tribute to Cardinal Williams in 2004 on his 25th anniversary of being a bishop.

Cardinal Williams participated in the 2005 papal conclave that elected Pope Benedict XVI.

The Pope accepted his resignation the same year and the Cardinal now lives in retirement on the Kapiti Coast. He still has a number of international responsibilities and is a member of three Vatican bodies.

His successor, Archbishop John Dew, says this weekend is a significant anniversary for Cardinal Williams, the Church of Wellington and New Zealand.

He says, “I am sure the whole Church of New Zealand would want to join me in saying thank you to the Cardinal and to wish him congratulations and every blessing on 50 years of faithful priesthood.”