Seminary Staff

FR. BRENDAN WARD
(Rector)

Born and raised in Invercargill, Southland. Worked in the forestry industry in NZ and Papua New Guinea 1977-1989 before entering the seminary in 1990. Ordained 1995, for the Diocese of Dunedin. Appointed rector of Holy Cross Seminary June 2014. B.For.Sci; B.Theol; MA Psych.Rlgn.

FR. MICHAEL GIELEN
(Formation Director)

Kia Ora. I was ordained a priest for the diocese of Hamilton 1997, and until 2012 served in parishes in the Gisborne, Hamilton and western Bay of Plenty. It is a privilege to now be serving at Holy Cross as the Director of Formation. My life is a living testament to a challenge from Pope Francis’ :  Be not afraid of what God asks of you. It is worth saying yes to God! In him we find our joy.

 

FRANCES SMITH
(Pastoral Assistant)
I am from the Pacific Islands, a widow of many years, mother and grandmother. I have served the Church in various, diverse ministries. I have a Diploma of Theology from the Melbourne College of Divinity, and am also trained as a Spiritual Director. Before joining the staff at Holy Cross Seminary, I served in the Philippines in the Society of Jesus, at East Asian Pastoral Institute.

FR. PHILIP BILLING
(Spiritual Director)

I was ordained in St Mary Immaculate Church Hamilton on the 20th September, 2002. In 2016 I spent time in Melbourne studying at the Heart of Life Spirituality Centre, completing the ‘Siloam’ programme, a one year formation programme for Spiritual Directors. My role put simply as the Spiritual Director at the seminary will be to help the seminarians develop their spiritual lives and deepen their personal relationship with Jesus in preparation for ordination to priesthood. My goal as a Spiritual Director is to refine the acoustics of the heart not only of the one who is talking about their spiritual journey with me but also my own heart, so that we can both better hear the Spirit’s guidance, the true Spiritual Director. In this way God becomes a telling influence in our choices. Discernment then becomes a life-long commitment to stay connected to God and to listen to God’s guidance on our journey of life.

ANASTASIA BROWN
(Office Manager)

 

 

Seminary Students

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DEACON GRAEME BLACKBURN
Hi everybody, my name is Graeme. I’m from a family of two brothers and two sisters and am the youngest. Although I grew up in Auckland I am studying for Christchurch diocese. After completing High School in 2001 I left for Christchurch and spent  eight years there doing various jobs. But it’s good to be back in Auckland with the family again. I was ordained a Deacon on 23 September, 2016.

REWI PENE
Kia Ora tātou te Whānau,
Ko Rewi Pene ahau,   I am a seminarian for the Auckland Diocese.
I studied a Diploma in Te Ao Māori (Māori Studies) at Otago Polytech, and Music and Linguistics at Otago University. My interests are classical music and opera but I love all sorts of music.  I also love listening and watching debates and debating. I love Rugby and support The Highlanders. My home parish is Te Ngakau Tino Tapu o Hehu, Waitaruke.  

 
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DEACON ALISTER CASTILLO
Greetings! I am a born and bred Cantabrian and a seminarian for the Diocese of Christchurch. I completed my High School studies at St. Bede’s College in 2008 then did part-time University in 2009 while working for the Catholic Youth Team. But the “call” to priesthood was too strong and I entered Holy Cross in 2011.  I was ordained with Graeme and Huynh as Deacon on 23 September, 2016.

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DEACON HUYNH TRAN
I am Huynh. I am from Vietnam. I arrived in New Zealand in July 2008. I am a seminarian for Christchurch Diocese. I studied electronics at Ho Chi Minh University Of Industry in Vietnam for two years before I came to New Zealand. I love cooking, technology and playing sports.

 

TONY KING-ARCHER
Hi. My name is Tony King-Archer. Prior to entering the seminary for the Diocese of Auckland in 2012 I studied Science and Commerce at Auckland University and worked in the service industry in an accounting role. I enjoy sports especially Cricket, Rugby and Soccer and I am a die hard Black Caps supporter.

ANTHONY TRENWITH
I entered Holy Cross Seminary in 2012 after working for seven years as a lawyer, including living in London for three years and travelling in Europe. Highlights were attendance at the beatification of John Henry Newman during Benedict XVI’s visit to the UK, and the canonisation of St Mary Mackillop in Rome. Feeling called to do more with my life, I returned to NZ and entered the seminary.

 

 

ALEX CHIA
Hi. My name is Alex Chia. I entered Holy Cross Seminary in 2011. I am from the diocese of Christchurch. Before entering the seminary I completed a degree in mechanical engineering.

 

MATTHEW GIBSON
Hi. My name is Matthew Gibson. I started at the seminary in 2013 and hope to be a priest for the Hamilton diocese. Please pray for us and the staff entrusted with our formation. I am currently on my Pastoral Year in Gisborne.

 

VUI HOANG
Hi. I am Vui Hoang, a seminarian for the Palmerston North Diocese. From Vietnam, I entered Holy Cross Seminary in 2013. I am currently on my Pastoral Year in the Palmerston North Diocese.

MARTIN WU
Hi. I am Martin Wu. I am a seminarian for Auckland Diocese and I entered the seminary in 2013.  I have experience working with at-risk youth and youth offenders.
Please pray for me!
I am currently on my Pastoral Year at Balmoral Parish in Auckland.

 

 

THOMAS PARK
Kia Ora, Hi, my name is Thomas (Chani) Park, came to NZ in 2003 from Seoul, Republic of Korea. I joined the seminary in 2014 for the  Auckland diocese. Before entering the seminary, I completed secondary school (Rangitoto college) in 2006, studied at University of Auckland and Massey University. My work experience has been in  rental property and as a ship broker.

TRUNG VAN NGUYEN
My name is Trung. I am from Vietnam. I finished a degree in Philosophy at the University of Social Sciences and Humanities in Ho Chi Minh City. I came to New Zealand in May 2012. I am a seminarian for Palmerston North Diocese. I like to play soccer, table tennis and listening to instrumental music.

 

TANG VAN PHAN
Hi. I am Tang Van Phan. Originally from Vietnam I am a seminarian for Christchurch Diocese and I entered the seminary in 2014.

 

SIMONE MASANGA
Hi. I am Simone Masanga, from Tonga. I am a seminarian for the Palmerston North Diocese and I entered the seminary in 2014.

 
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JOVANIE LEONES
Mabuhay! I am Jovanie from the Philippines. I am a seminarian for the Archdiocese of Wellington. Before coming to New Zealand, I went to a minor seminary and finished my degree in Philosophy

 

GLEN BRENNAN
I am Glen Brennan, I am part of the Christchurch Diocese but originally from the Bay of Plenty. My interests are music, Xbox, surfing, cars and hunting.  I have found dear Mother Mary a real gift and protection over the years.

 

 

ADAM KIRKEBY
Hello. I am Adam Kirkeby. I entered the seminary for the Hamilton Diocese in 2016, before which I worked as a primary school teacher for six years in Catholic schools in Taupo, Hamilton and Tokoroa.

ALFRED TONG
Hi! I’m Alfred, a seminarian for the Archdiocese of Wellington. I started at Holy Cross Seminary in 2016. Previously I was an environmental chemist in the aquatic environment. In addition, I worked as a donor database administrator for Caritas Aotearoa New Zealand. I love music making and in addition to singing, I play the piano, cello and guitar.

 

MONTY BAMFORD 
My name is Monty Bamford, a seminarian for the Catholic Diocese of Christchurch. I grew up on a high country farm in Hawarden, North Canterbury. I have aBachelor of Commerce degree from Lincoln University, and worked for three years as a product manager for a rural supplies company  in Christchurch. I entered Holy Cross Seminary in 2016. My home parish is the Catholic Parish of the Good Shepherd, Hurunui.

ROMANO TIKITIKOCA
Bulla everyone. I am Romano Tikotikoca from the Garden Island of Fiji. An Auckland seminarian who loves learning about new cultures, working with youths and traveling. 
Vinaka.

 
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JOSEPH VAN LONG NGUYEN
My name is Joseph Nguyen, I am 28 years old. I come from one of the most beautiful countries in the world called Vietnam. I'm here for the Diocese of Dunedin. I am in my first year at Holy Cross Seminary. 

THOMAS DRAVITZKI
Greetings! My name is Thomas Dravitzki and I entered the seminary for the Catholic Diocese of Palmerston North in 2017 I am a proud Taranaki man and have a background in education.

 
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SUU NGUYEN
Hi, I am Suu and come from Vietnam. I entered the Holy Cross Seminary in 2017 and a seminarian for Dunedin Diocese. I have a civil engineering qualification. Please pray for me.

HUONG DINH VAN

 
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ISAAC FRANSEN
I'm a seminarian for the Hamilton Diocese. I was born and bred on a dairy farm with six brothers. I completed BE(mech) at Waikato University before entering the seminary in 2015. God bless you, and please pray for us all here and those who are discerning.