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Papal Knighthood Recognises Many Years of Dedicated Service

On Sunday 21st August 2022, Christchurch North parishioner Mr Geoff Bailey was honoured to have a Knighthood of the Pontifical Equestrian Order of St Gregory the Great bestowed upon him by the Bishop of Christchurch, Bishop Michael Gielen.

The investiture ceremony took place at St Bede’s College Chapel – a venue that has much significance for Geoff – in the company of close family members and many friends and colleagues.

Pope Francis awarded Geoff the title of Papal Knighthood of the Order of St Gregory the Great for his many years of service to the Catholic Diocese of Christchurch.

The award recognises his dedication and commitment to the Catholic church in Christchurch and the impact he has had in guiding the financial and strategic development of many components that make up the Diocese.

He has utilised his financial, leadership and strategic management experience and knowledge to help set the Diocese on a strong path – negotiating the challenges along the way in a calm, diplomatic and empathetic manner.

He has played a pivotal role in the development of St Bede’s College and more recently of the Catholic Diocese of Christchurch, particularly in the aftermath of the earthquakes and the challenges they put on the capital infrastructure of the diocese.

A past pupil of St Bede’s, he has served on both the Board of Trustees and then Board of Proprietors of St Bede’s College since 1991.

In 1992 he joined the Diocesan Finance Council which he served on until 2001 before being subsumed into the Management and Finance Board which he was a member of from 2002 and Chairman of from 2004 until 2021.

He also served on the Diocesan Property Sub-Committee and Diocesan Investment Sub-Committee, Strategic Planning Group and Budget Sub-Committee between 2001 to 2021. 

He worked with  a number of other Catholic agencies including the Society of Mary Colleges Senate.

In their testimonies submitted in support for the Papal Knighthood, colleagues described him as “…a listener, empathetic, articulate, educated, faith filled,and  tolerant”

Geoff, is one of three children born to Arthur and Eileen Bailey. He attended St Albans  Catholic Primary School  and then St Bede’s College.

He went on to complete a Bachelor of Commerce Degree at the University of Canterbury and became a Chartered Accountant.

Geoff married Gillian McIntosh at St Matthew’s Church Bryndwr in 1973 and the couple went on to have four children – Richard, Sarah, Penny and Tim.

In 2012 he received the Pro Ecclesia et Pontiface Cross.

The award of a Knighthood of the Pontifical Equestrian Order of St Gregory the Great was established in 1831 by Pope Gregory XVI and is one of just five orders of knighthood of the Holy See. The honour is bestowed in recognition of an individual’s personal service to the Holy See, and to the Catholic Church.