From VIS news this morning, the Holy Father:
- Appointed Fr. Michael McKenna of the clergy of the diocese of Sale, Australia, chaplain of the University of Melbourne, Australia, as bishop of Bathurst (area 103,560, population 211,000, Catholics 66,200, priests 37, religious 89), Australia. The bishop-elect was born in Bairnsdale, Australia in 1951 and ordained a priest in 1983;
- Appointed Bishop Gregory O'Kelly S.J., auxiliary of Adelaide, Australia, as bishop of Port Pirie (area 978,823, population 172,713, Catholics 29,653, priests 25, religious 26), Australia.
Curiously, no word on Australia's other vacant see, Sale.
Cath News reports that:
"Bishop O'Kelly has been the Auxiliary Bishop of Adelaide since September 2006. He was ordained a Jesuit priest in Adelaide in 1972 and has a long background in Catholic education, having been headmaster both of St Ignatius College Adelaide, and St Ignatius College, Riverview in Sydney.
In 1989 Bishop O'Kelly was elected as Chairman of the Association of Heads of Independent Schools of Australia and in 1994 he was awarded the Order of Australia for services to education.
Bishop O'Kelly is a member of the Bishops Commission for Catholic Education and of the National Catholic Education Commission and has been involved with various refugee communities in Adelaide.
Bishop O'Kelly succeeds Bishop Eugene Hurley as the Bishop of Port Pirie, following Bishop Hurley's appointment as the Bishop of Darwin in July 2007.
Fr Michael McKenna, has until now, been the Catholic Chaplain to the University of Melbourne and the Administrator of All Saints Parish, Fitzroy. He was ordained a priest in 1983, after which, he served in the Diocese of Sale.
In 1991, while engaged in post graduate studies in Canon Law at the Gregorian University, Rome, he was elected to the first of his two terms as General Secretary of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference.
After a return to parish life, Bishop-elect McKenna took up a Resident Fellowship in the Divinity School of Harvard University.
From 1999 to 2005, he was Rector of Corpus Christi College, the regional seminary for Victoria and Tasmania. In 2006 he was appointed as Catholic Chaplain to the University of Melbourne and the following year he also took on the pastoral care of All Saints Parish, Fitzroy.
Bishop-elect McKenna succeeds Bishop Patrick Dougherty, who retired as the Bishop of Bathurst in November 2008.
Bishop O'Kelly, 67, said he was humbled and surprised by the appointment and he would do his best to serve the people "worthily".
"The people of this diocese are well known for their sense of community and welcome and I know I will appreciate that from them, as well as from the priests and religious orders who work in such a dedicated way over such a vast area," he said.
"I am going back to my roots on two counts, both sides of my family came from the north and my pioneer Jesuit brethren were the first to establish the Catholic Church in this area.
"I will be humbled to walk in their steps."
He expressed his great gratitude for the support and affection of the clergy, religious and laity of the Adelaide Archdiocese since his appointment as bishop and said he would work at maintaining these good relations.
Archbishop of Adelaide Philip Wilson said while he regretted the loss of Bishop O'Kelly to Adelaide, he would be a source of "rich blessings" for the Diocese of Port Pirie.
"I will always be grateful for his contribution to the life of the Archdiocese and the deep friendship which has developed between us. I look forward to the growth of that friendship as we work together as brother diocesan bishops in South Australia," he said.
The Port Pirie Diocese was pioneered by Austrian Jesuits from Sevenhill, who built 30 churches throughout the area and established 27 schools. It now incorporates 31 parishes including Uluru in the Northern Territory.
Bishop O'Kelly was ordained to the episcopate in September 2006, becoming the first Jesuit bishop in Australian history. Prior to this he was headmaster of Jesuit colleges in Adelaide and Sydney. He has been involved with various refugee communities in Adelaide and has worked closely on the development of ecumenical and interfaith relations.
Congratulating Bishop O'Kelly on his new appointment, Australian Jesuit Provincial Fr Steve Curtin said the appointment was a call back to his roots on two levels, family and the Society.
"Both sides of his family come from this area, and the first priests to walk and ride across the lands of the diocese were Fathers Kranewitter, Tappeiner and Pallhuber", said Fr Curtin. "Our Jesuits from Sevenhill virtually built this diocese. When it was established in 1888, of the eleven parish priests, seven were Jesuits from Sevenhill."
Fr Pat O'Regan, Diocesan Administrator of the Bathurst Diocese since November 2008, welcomed news of the appointment.
"As a Diocese we have been eagerly awaiting the announcement of this appointment for some time and I welcome Fr Michael McKenna's appointment as the eighth Bishop of Bathurst."
"This is especially welcome news, coming as it comes so close to the celebration of Easter."
"For what seems a long time, the Diocese has been praying that God would send us a good, holy and pastoral bishop. We give thanks and ask God's continual blessing upon his ministry of oversight within our Diocese."
"Bishop-elect McKenna brings to our Diocese a unique set of experiences which include growing up in a country diocese, as well as a very broad range of experiences of both the local and universal Church."
"I am sure that his vast experience will be called upon as he seeks to respond to the many pastoral challenges facing the diocese at this time; having fewer priests; times of drought and the changing nature of our social fabric to name but a very few, all call for a deep pastoral and hope filled response."
In his message to the people of the Diocese, Bishop-elect McKenna said, "The announcement of my nomination as Bishop of Bathurst comes in Easter Week. I hope that the energy and peace we celebrate now might bless my ministry here in the years ahead.
"Christ is risen not just in Jerusalem and Galilee but from Coonabarabran to Carlton, from Bairnsdale to Bathurst. It is the same Christ, though each meets him in particular places, circumstances, joys and sorrows.
"Our mission is simply to proclaim him - together - clearly, strongly, beautifully. Let us pray for one another."
Anyone know anything about these gentlemen from a traditional mass perspective?
In any case, please do pray for them as they embark on their new offices.