Bishops announce significant appointment for the Catholic Church in Aotearoa New Zealand


The New Zealand Catholic Bishops congratulate Father Bernard Espiritu SVD on his re-appointment as National Director of MissioNZ by the Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples, Rome.

Father Bernard Espiritu has been the New Zealand National Director for the Pontifical Mission Societies since 2012. His ministry has been across several continents, most recently in North America. He was born in the Philippines, and following ordination with the Society of the Divine Word (SVD – Societas Verbi Divini) was appointed on missionary assignment in south Brazil for seven years. Following that he worked for 16 years in Australia and the last six in North America.

Bishop Charles Drennan, Secretary of the NZCBC, said “the Bishops are grateful that Fr Bernard had agreed to have his appointment renewed.” He noted that Fr Bernard has built up good relationships with parishes and some schools, was known as an engaging preacher, and came from a Religious Order dedicated to the mahi or work of mission.”

Bishop Drennan further commented that the Bishops had asked Fr Bernard to “pay specific attention to the ethnic communities newer to New Zealand ensuring that they are aware of the work of MissioNZ and exploring new ways to encourage involvement and contributions from these communities.”

MissioNZ is the New Zealand office providing for the Pontifical Missions Societies ie Propagation of the Faith, St Peter the Apostle and Holy Childhood / Children Helping Children. It is connected with the New Zealand Bishop’s Conference and Bishop Owen Dolan is the accredited Episcopal Vicar. The office is Wellington-based and is affiliated with 120 National Directors of PMS worldwide.

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