The Catholic Diocese of Christchurch was established by papal brief in 1887. Formerly part of Wellington Archdiocese, the Diocese of Christchurch is currently comprised of 18 parishes covering parts of the West Coast and Canterbury in the South Island of New Zealand as well as the Chatham Islands.


Since 1887 the Diocese has had eleven bishops. Our current bishop is Bishop Michael Gielen.

The mother church of the Diocese was the Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament, Christchurch, which was deconstructed in 2021 following extensive damage sustained in the February 2011 earthquakes.
The Catholic population of the Diocese is 62,715. The diocese covers 51,780 square kilometres (or 20,000 square miles).

The diocesan patron saint is St John the Baptist.



Bishops who have served the Christchurch Diocese are:

John Joseph Grimes S. M.: 26 July 1887 to 15 March 1915

Matthew Joseph Brodie: 27 February 1916 to 11 October 1943

Patrick Francis Lyons: 2 July 1944 to 3 June 1950

Edward Michael Joyce: 16 July 1950 to 28 January 1964

Brian Patrick Ashby: 5 August 1964 to 4 July 1985

Denis William Hanrahan: 4 July 1985 to 1 February 1987

John Basil Meeking: 3 June 1987 to 15 December 1995

John Jerome Cunneen: 15 December 1995 to 5 May 2007

Barry Philip Jones: 5 May 2007 to 13 February 2016

Paul Martin S.M.: 3 March 2018 to January 2021 [Apostolic Administrator from Jan 2021 – May 2022]

Michael Gielen: 21 May 2022 to current

Click here for a further brief overview on the Bishops who have served the Christchurch Diocese.

Or click on each individual Bishop’s name for more information.