Conference to be led with 'a great pastoral heart'

Maitland-Newcastle Diocesan Administrator, Fr Greg Barker, has welcomed news that the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference elected Archbishop Timothy Costelloe SDB as president of the Conference and re-elected Archbishop Anthony Fisher OP vice-president.

The president and vice-president’s two-year terms will commence on 13 July, after the Second General Assembly of the Fifth Plenary Council of Australia.

Archbishop Costelloe was appointed an Auxiliary Bishop of Melbourne in 2007 and Archbishop of Perth in 2012.

He is the first president of the Bishops Conference from Western Australia and, as a priest of the Salesians of Don Bosco, the first member of a religious order to be elected president.

Fr Greg said he first got to know Archbishop Costello in 1993 when writing his synthesis for ordination.

“Archbishop Costello was my supervisor at the time and member of the Deacons’ formation program.”

“I have every faith that in his new role as president of the ACBC he will lead the conference with great a great pastoral heart,” Fr Greg said.

Archbishop Costelloe will replace Archbishop Mark Coleridge, who served as president for four years. Archbishop Coleridge was ineligible to run for a third term because he will turn 75 in September 2023.

Fr Greg paid tribute to Archbishop Coleridge, saying he “has been an inspirational leader.”

Archbishop Fisher, the Archbishop of Sydney, has served as vice-president of the Conference for the past four years.

“Archbishop Fisher has served our Church well in his role as vice president and I think that together Archbishop Costello, they will continue this great work,” Fr Greg said.

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Lizzie Watkin Image
Lizzie Watkin

Lizzie is Team Leader Content for the Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle.