A word from the Bishop

BishopSHaneChristmas125pxAt Christmas, we celebrate Jesus as the light who comes in our darkness. This year, perhaps more than ever, we are aware of how much we need that light.  Bishop Shane Mackinlay

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God is present in our solidarity and solitude

This is a time of great transition and disruption. Our lives have rapidly been emptied of their normal routines and activities, spending much more time at home, with less and less of the connections and contacts that we take for granted. More and more shops and businesses have closed, and even our churches, playgrounds and cafes stand silent and empty. As we worry about how the pandemic might progress, we are feeling vulnerable and anxious, uncertain about what the coming months will hold for us.

sandhurst diocese coat of arms18 February 2020

Bishop Shane Mackinlay presented the Monsignor Peter Jeffrey Oration in Shepparton on 18 February 2020 to the Education Leaders of the Catholic Diocese of Sandhurst.

The address shared Bishop Mackinlay's considerations on issues such as leadership and formation, passing on the faith to the next generation, good governance, the 5th Plenary Council in Australia, synodality, and Pope Francis' pontificate.


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Last October, Pope Francis spent three weeks with over 200 bishops, religious and lay people reflecting on the Amazon region in a meeting of the Synod of Bishops. The Synod itself produced a lengthy document, and in mid-February Pope Francis made his own “response to this process of dialogue and discernment” in an ‘apostolic exhortation’ called Querida Amazonia (QA).

bishopshane 150This summer has been dominated by bushfires across the south-east of Australia, with over thirty people losing their lives. Many communities in our own diocese have been directly affected, with homes and properties destroyed, evacuations, and ongoing threats of fire, particularly in areas around Corryong, Walwa, Bright and Harrietville. Even those of us living at a safe distance from the fires were impacted by the acrid smoke hanging across the countryside and reminding us of our connection with these communities.

bishopshane 150Christmas is our celebration of the God who is with us.

It’s 10 weeks since I was ordained bishop. In that time, I have visited parishes, schools, healthcare providers, and welfare agencies in various parts of the diocese, and met with groups and committees that are involved with different dimensions of the life of the church, both in the diocese and more broadly. I am on a steep learning curve about the extraordinary richness and diversity of people and activities that are taking place in our region.

bishopshane 150As I take up this ministry of bishop, I am honoured to be welcomed to the ancestral lands of the Dja Dja Wurrung people. I pay respect to the Elders of all the Lands of the Sandhurst Diocese – the Yorta Yorta Nation, the Minjambuta, the Baraparapa, the Dhuduroa, and the Taungurang, and I extend my recognition to their descendants who are present.

bishopshane 150I am very grateful for the warm welcome and many messages of support that I have received from people across the Diocese of Sandhurst since I was appointed as Bishop-elect. I look forward to meeting people in the diocese personally, learning the stories of your communities and working collaboratively with you in living out our mission as disciples of Jesus.