Message from Bishop Bill

Welcome to this latest edition of the Year in Review of the Maitland-Newcastle Diocese.  You will notice some changes in format and production that will, we trust, make the wealth of information more digestible, perhaps especially to those accessing it online.

Developments in the ministries of the various works and agencies of the Diocese will be found in the pages that follow. In my remarks at this point last year, I noticed optimistically the prospects of better meeting our needs in the way of ordained ministry. Since then, we have indeed ordained Fr John Lovell, Fr Anthony Coloma, and Deacon Kevin Gadd. Deacon Graham Fullick should be ordained a priest early in 2020, and the Vocationist Fathers Collins, Christogonus and Christian are, after an extended familiarisation and induction period, about to commence regular ministry.

So far, so good. All the same, with illnesses, retirements and legitimate leave, it has been a struggle in 2019 to provide for the needs of all parishes all the time. Many of the priests, serving and retired, have been very generous in taking on extra work to fill gaps as best we could. May I encourage all readers to continue to pray for vocations to the ministry and to encourage promising young people to consider this form of a life of service.  

After thinking and talking about it for many years, we have taken the step as a Diocese of commencing a Synod that will run in stages through 2020 and 2021, somewhat in sync with the National Plenary Council. This is in some respects a brave undertaking. It is no secret there is disillusionment among many people in the Diocese, and a sort of exhaustion after the many years of revelations about past abuse of children here, culminating in the royal commissions and Cunneen inquiry. It is a risk that a Synod will prove to be too challenging at this point in our history. I think, though, of St Paul’s “when I am weak, then I am strong”. If the Synod at this time allows the power of Christ to shine through our weakness, then we will be blessed indeed.

Now, about new schools, new welfare programs, new initiatives in training for leadership and so on, I commend to you the “meat” of this Review.

May God bless you all.

Most Reverend William Wright

Bishop of Maitland-Newcastle

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Bishop Bill Wright

Most Reverend William (Bill) Wright is the eighth Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle and is the pastoral leader of more than 150,000 Catholics in the region.