A Catholic Monthly Magazine

Hamilton’s new Bishop Visits Murupara

Bishop Stephen and Doug Rewi

Bishop Stephen and Doug Rewi

An account by Br Vincent Jury, Doug, Hariata and Tania Rewi

E ngā mana, i ngā reo, e ngā kārangarangatangā maha, tēnā koutou katoa.

On Sunday 22 February 2015, one week after Bishop Stephen Lowe was ordained as Bishop of Hamilton Diocese,  Bishop Lowe prophetically decided to celebrate his first Mass in Sacred Heart Catholic Church, Murupara.

Normally a whakatau/welcome would occur at the Church, and this did happen.  However, for the first time one of three hapū from Ngāti Manawa welcomed Bishop Stephen onto Rangitahi Marae.  The pōwhiri began at 9:00 am and ended at 9:45 am, ensuring Mass could begin at 10:00 am.

Immediately after the powhiri, Bishop Stephen travelled to Sacred Heart Church, which was less than 1 km from the Marae, and there he celebrated his first Mass amongst the Maori and Catholic community of the Murupara region.  Mass began with the bell ringing, and then a karanga to Bishop Stephen, from Martha Anderson, at 10:00 am.
The church was filled with visitors from Auckland, Hamilton, Rotorua, Galatea, Murupara, Whakatāne, Maketu, Turangi, Ngaputahi and Wellington.  Three Māori women, all Anglican Ministers participated in the celebration with Bishop Stephen Lowe.

The music ministry prepared  in collaboration with Brother Vincent Jury and Doug Rewi.  The Wairua (Holy Spirit) flowed and the singing was uplifting to a community that is currently struggling with high unemployment, low self-esteem, financial and health disparities and much hardship.

Bishop Stephen and Fr Dave Gledhill sm

Bishop Stephen and Fr Dave Gledhill sm

Aroha (love) flowed from over 150 people present in the service, and the music team lead the congregation with instruments like guitars and a soprano saxophone.  It was fitting to say the roof almost flew off when the waiata were sung during the service.

Bishop Stephen spoke about his tenure of seven years working for The Forest Services and how he was the one, who gave the devastating news to employees that they were to be made redundant. Staff lost their jobs, and he saw the struggle in the communities and devastation that followed afterwards.  That struggle of unemployment, devastation and loss has never left him.  He chose to say his first Mass in a township that was struggling.

With the news of Bishop Stephen visiting Murupara and wanting to celebrate his first Mass at Sacred Heart Catholic Church, the community of Murupara came alive.  They will continue to buzz a while longer.  The Wairua (Holy Spirit) has blessed Murupara with the visit of Bishop Stephen, and we pray that good things will continue to flourish, after his visit to our little community.

From left to right Mini Pouwhare, Libya Heke, and Polly Tamepo are the Anglican ministers who joined the congregation for the occasion.

From left to right Mini Pouwhare, Libya Heke, and Polly Tamepo are the Anglican ministers who joined the congregation for the occasion.

It was a privilege and inspiration to be chosen by Bishop Stephen to celebrate his first Mass with us in Murupara (only one week after being ordained); to share the Eucharist with Catholic and non-Catholics; patrons from the community of Murupara and other Catholic rohe (areas). We pray that God will help Bishop Stephen to listen to the karanga of Māori from no ngā hau e whā, but especially from us here in Murupara.

Mā te Atua koe e Pīhopa Tīpene, e manaaki e tiaki hoki.   

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