Fr Tim Duckworth SM has been elected to become New Zealand Provincial of the Society of Mary, to commence in early 2020. He succeeds Fr David Kennerley SM, who will have served two 3-year terms as Provincial.
In his 37 years of priesthood, Tim has served the Society of Mary and the Church in a wide variety of ministries and apostolates. He was ordained to priesthood by Bishop Ashby of Christchurch in 1982 after completing ten years formation at Mount St Mary’s Seminary at Greenmeadows.
He has a number of educational qualifications to his credit: a Baccalaureate in Theology, and LTCL in speech, a BA in Psychology and Zoology, a Diploma in Teaching and later, a Masters in Organisation Development from Loyola in Chicago.
Teaching in Society of Mary colleges took up his earlier years of priesthood, where he taught at St Patrick’s Silverstream, St John’s Hastings and St Bede’s Christchurch.
Since then Tim has worked with religious orders as facilitator at chapters and assemblies, as well as with dioceses, for not-for-profit organisations as well as in commercial enterprises. He has been part of the Society of Mary’s New Zealand Provincial Council in 1997 and was Vicar Provincial from 2002 to 2004 (a role to which he returned in 2016 which he currently holds along with duties as Provincial Bursar).
Crisis management and experience in professional standards have also been part of his ministry as well as in continuing education, serving on the boards of St Bede’s, St Patrick’s Wellington, Hato Paora College Feilding, St John’s Hastings as well as on the Good Shepherd College Senate in Auckland.
On returning to Wellington after a sabbatical year in 2005, he resumed duties in facilitation and supervision and working on special projects for the Province in 2006. These projects included the reconfiguration working party, Youth Ministry and the reorganising of the Logos Project for young people.
When asked about future directions for the Society of Mary in this country, Tim said that it is indeed a difficult and challenging time to be in leadership in the Church. “Society and the Church face a rapidly changing future and the Marist charism is well suited to these challenging times,” he said. “Our focus will be on spreading the gospel of justice and charity with mercy and reconciliation and doing so as Mary – Jesus’ first disciple – did. I recognise the faith the Members of the Society have expressed in choosing me for this role.”