A Filipino missionary of the Societas Verbi Divini (SVD) congregation was recently appointed as the national director for the Pontifical Mission Societies in New Zealand.
The Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) said Father Bernardo Espiritu of the SVD's Australian province, was recommended to the post first week of May.
“The archbishop of Wellington last March 2012 asked our Australian province to appoint an SVD priest to take care of the PMS in the country," Espiritu said in an aritcle posted on the CBCP news site on Tuesday.
"At first, I just went to New Zealand to meet the archbishop as a formal get-together. But to my surprise, on the first week of May, I received an appointment letter from Rome stating that I am the new national director for PMS in the said country. So, the job was offered to me and I accepted it without hesitation,” Espiritu added.
Espiritu said he was aware of the problem of adjusting to the place and the people.
"You must get to know the people, etc. As of now, I’m still studying the country, its history, geography, the people and other stuff,” he said.
Espiritu attended the general assembly in Rome last May 7 to 12 to meet fellow directors and have a glimpse of the mission work of PMS.
He will return to New Zealand on the last week of May and will formally begin his work as the PMS Director in June.
Espiritu was ordained in 1981 and first served as a missionary in Brazil from 1983 to 1990. His second mission was in Melbourne, Australia from 1991 to 2006.
He also served in the United Nations as a member of Vivat International, an organized network of all members of SSpS and SVD, ASC, CMS, CSSP, MCCJ, MSHR, OMI.
The groups' work, expertise and experience have direct bearing on issues related to social justice, development, peace and ecology.
Espiritu worked as a missionary in New Jersey, USA for five years before being assigned to mission work in Australia where he got his recent appointment.
He was the first Filipino to be appointed as national director of PMS in New Zealand.
Presently, there are six priests-directors from the said congregation who are serving as PMS Directors in Congo, Paraguay, Portugal, Papua New Guinea, Hungary and in Rome.
The Australian province of the SVD consists of Australia, New Zealand and Thailand with 60 priest-members.
Tuesday, May 22, 2012
Pinoy priest to head pontifical mission in New Zealand
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