I 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.
I feel humbled and honoured to be appointed by Pope Francis as Bishop of Sandhurst and I look forward to serving the people, religious and priests of the Diocese over the years ahead.
This appointment was unexpected for me, as I had only recently accepted another four-year term as Master of Catholic Theological College, East Melbourne, in the University of Divinity. I will be sad to leave the scholarly community at Catholic Theological College, where my colleagues have become good friends. I will also miss the six communities where I have been ministering in my home Diocese of Ballarat, at St Michael’s Parish, Bungaree, and St Patrick’s Parish, Gordon. It has been quite a whirlwind over these last few weeks and it will take some adjustment to get used to my new position as Bishop.
I’m very mindful of the responsibilities that I will take on as shepherd, minister and teacher in the diocese. Together, we are entrusted with continuing Jesus’ mission of building up God’s kingdom and living with the hope and promise that Jesus offers.
Please pray for me, that I may provide the kind of service that is needed in our community, especially at this time when we are facing such challenges and such a need for restoring trust in the church. Please pray also for the parish and academic communities that I have been part of, which are also facing significant changes as a result of my appointment.
I pay tribute to Bishop Les, who has served the diocese with great generosity and diligence over the last seven and a half years. I am particularly grateful for his thoughtful and considerate support for me during my preparation to become the eighth Bishop of Sandhurst.
During the Ordination Mass at Sacred Heart Cathedral, I will be asked to affirm my commitment to preaching the gospel, building up the Body of Christ, and showing God’s welcome and mercy for all. I will dedicate myself to living out these commitments wholeheartedly in my ministry as bishop.
Being a bishop will come with many new experiences and also many challenges. I am confident that as part of the Christian community, we can face those challenges in hope, with the assurance that Christ is always with us, and that his Spirit leads and supports us.