Priest returns to central Taranaki

By Ilona Hanne

Monsignor David Bell is busy unpacking and settling into his new home and offices in Stratford, having returned to the town after being away from the area for about 15 years.

Monsignor Bell says that he is looking forward to his time in the town and has many good memories of his previous time here.

"I was involved with various things in the community here. Coaching referees in rugby was one thing".

His enjoyment of rugby has seen him travel as far as Japan for the Bledisloe Cup in Tokyo in 2009 and he was a Rugby World Cup team chaplain, allocated to the French team, in 2011.

He has also been the chaplain for the Wanganui rugby team and a member of their board. Asked who he will support now he is living in Stratford, he says: "Well, we all have our own teams. I was born in Christchurch so have links with the Crusaders. I have had connections in the past with the Taranaki team and yes, I will support them".

Monsignor Bell says the parish has changed in the time he has been away. Now there are more Mass centres, meaning a little bit more travel and quite a busy schedule.

He is looking forward to "continuing the good work" and "getting to know the people and the schools".

Asked about the title Monsignor, he explains it reflects the fact that he was the Vicar General of the Palmerston North Diocese for "many years", a position he describes, in layman's terms, as the "2IC to the Bishop".

This role is appointmented by the Bishop and the title, which comes from the Vatican, is carried for life.

- Stratford Press

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