The bishops have appointed Greg Murphy from Hamilton as the new Senior Catholic Prison Chaplain. He will start on Tuesday 26 October, taking over from Kilian de Lacy who is retiring.
The Senior Catholic Prison Chaplain is a national role, involving the provision of pastoral and professional leadership and support to the Catholic chaplains who provide chaplaincy services in New Zealand prisons.
Greg is currently a prison chaplain at Spring Hill Corrections Facility and Auckland Region Women’s Corrections Facility. He has held management positions in various sectors, including voluntary welfare. He is also highly involved in the Passionist Family Group Movement and headed a team for national directors setting up groups throughout New Zealand.
As Senior Catholic Prison Chaplain Greg will work closely with the National Director of PCSANZ (Prison Chaplaincy Service of Aotearoa New Zealand) and with the diocesan general managers who manage the employment of Catholic prison chaplains on behalf of the bishop of the diocese.
He says he is looking forward to the challenge of the new role, and hopes to build on the good work done by his predecessor.
One of his goals is to raise the profile of prison chaplaincy in the church.
“There needs to be a greater understanding of the role of a prison chaplain. The number one function of a prison chaplain is to get the Eucharist to prisoners. It is important for people to remember that Jesus himself was a prisoner,” he says.
He also wants to increase support for volunteers by offering more training, supervision and practical assistance.
“We are fortunate to have bishops who are committed to having a Catholic chaplain in every prison and support this financially and in many other ways,” he says.
There are currently 25 Catholic prison chaplains working in New Zealand, with at least one in each of the country’s 20 prisons. The Catholic chaplains work closely with the ecumenical prison chaplains.
“Prison chaplaincy is an incredible environment to be a part of. I am consistently encouraged by the massive changes I see prison chaplains making in the lives of prisoners”.