The Episcopal Ordination of Bishop Charles Drennan took place on Saturday 11 June in Palmerston North.
The celebrations began on Friday 10 June when Bishop Drennan was officially welcomed to the diocese with a powhiri at St Peter’s College. Around 1000 attended the powhiri, including children from local Catholic schools.
The ordination was held at Palmerston North’s Catholic Cathedral of the Holy Spirit on Saturday at 11.00am. The Cathedral was full and the ordination was shown on Closed Circuit TV in the Cathedral chapel and foyer.
All of New Zealand’s Catholic bishops, the Apostolic Nuncio to New Zealand and two visiting bishops from Australia were the ordaining bishops. Bishop Peter Cullinane of Palmerston North was the Principal Celebrant.
The Rite of Ordination involves the new bishop lying prostrate, which is followed by the “laying on of hands” and the consecratory prayer. The new bishop is then invested with the symbols of a bishop’s ministry – a ring, pastoral staff (shepherd’s crook) and mitre.
Pope Benedict XVI appointed Christchurch-born Monsignor Drennan Coadjutor Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Palmerston North on 22 February 2011. At the time he was Administrator at the Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament in Christchurch and Parish Priest at St Anne’s Parish in Woolston. He returned to Christchurch last year after seven years’ working at the Vatican as an assistant to Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI.
Bishop Drennan will assist current Bishop Peter Cullinane in the governance and pastoral care of the diocese until after Bishop Cullinane retires at the end of the year at which point Bishop Drennan will succeed him as Bishop of the diocese.