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Pope Francis appoints Bishop Michael Gielen as Bishop of Christchurch

Pope Francis has appointed Bishop Michael Gielen as our new Bishop. He now succeeds Archbishop Paul who has been our Apostolic Administrator since January 2021 and the appointment of Bishop Michael will allow Archbishop Paul to take up his role as Coadjutor Archbishop of Wellington in the coming weeks.

Bishop Michael hails from Tokoroa and was a priest of the Diocese of Hamilton, before being appointed to Auxiliary Bishop of Auckland in March 2020.

“I am humbled and honoured to have been appointed by Pope Francis as the Bishop of the Diocese of Christchurch. I have always had a deep respect for the people of Christchurch borne from their displays of resilience and generosity in the face of great adversity,” Bishop Michael says. “I am grateful for Archbishop Paul Martin’s leadership and vision. He leaves behind a courageous legacy. I am also very indebted to the people of Auckland and Hamilton, for all they have given me over the last 25 years of ministry. I look forward to the new challenge that my appointment brings and meeting the people of Christchurch over the coming months.”

Bishop Gielen is the son of Henk and Maureen Gielen of Mount Maunganui and is the eldest of six children. An ardent Waikato supporter and keen sportsman, Bishop Michael, 50, is looking forward to enjoying the sporting fabric of Christchurch and becoming a Canterbury fan over the next few years.

Bishop Michael is also excited to be joining the Christchurch Diocese at this time of significant development.
“I wish to acknowledge the work Archbishop Paul has done in his time here in Christchurch. Archbishop Paul has responded courageously to the challenges faced by the diocese and laid the foundations for a strong future. The work he has done in paving the way for the consolidation and strengthening of our parishes and schools stands the Diocese in fantastic stead going forward. It is an exciting time to lead the Diocese through this next growth phase of the Catholic Church in Christchurch.”

Bishop Michael takes up the role with immediate effect and will be officially installed as Bishop of Christchurch in July.

Bishop Michael has a brief message for the people of Christchurch

About Bishop Michael:

Born 2nd June 1971 in Cambridge

Ordained as a priest in 1997 in Hamilton, he then served parishes in Gisborne, Hamilton and the western Bay of Plenty

His education includes studying a Masters in Theology at the Franciscan University of Steubenville, USA 2012-2014 and a Licentiate in Theology from St. Peter Favre Centre for Formators to the Priesthood and Religious Life, Gregorian University, Rome

He moved to Auckland in 2014 as Director of Formation at Holy Cross Seminary, helping to train new priests.

In March 2020 he became Auxiliary Bishop of Auckland.

21st May 2022 he was appointed Bishop of Christchurch!