Pope appoints Coadjutor Bishop for Palmerston North

Catholic priest Monsignor Charles Drennan has been appointed Coadjutor Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Palmerston North by Pope Benedict XVI. He will assist current Bishop Peter Cullinane in the governance of the diocese until Bishop Cullinane retires sometime after he turns 75 at the end of November.

Currently based in Christchurch as Administrator of the Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament Parish and Parish Priest of St Anne’s Woolston, Monsignor Drennan’s immediate focus is on the people of Christchurch after yesterday’s earthquake.

It is expected that he will move to Palmerston North and be ordained Bishop in May.

A coadjutor bishop is a co-bishop of a diocese in all except ceremonial precedence. He automatically succeeds the current bishop upon retirement or death.

At the request of Christchurch Bishop Barry Jones Monsignor Drennan, 50, last year returned to Christchurch from Rome, where he had spent seven years working in the Vatican’s Secretariat of State. His main role was writing speeches and talks for the Pope.

Just before leaving the Vatican, Drennan accompanied the Pope on a visit to the Czech Republic, during which they discussed the Church in New Zealand.

Prior to this Monsignor Drennan was on the staff of Holy Cross Seminary and Good Shepherd College in New Zealand and in earlier days served as a priest in parishes Christchurch and Timaru. He undertook most of his training for the priesthood in Rome as well as post graduate studies.

Bishop elect Drennan grew up in Christchurch and attended Christ’s College. During a three-year OE Monsignor Drennan made the decision in India to become a Catholic priest. He was working at a home for children whose parents had leprosy. He was ordained in 1996.