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Bishop O’Kelly appointed Apostolic Administrator

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Pope Francis has appointed Bishop Greg O’Kelly SJ of Port Pirie the Apostolic Administrator of the Archdiocese of Adelaide following the decision of Archbishop Wilson to step down from his duties.

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“The Pope’s intention is to provide stability for the people of the Archdiocese and demonstrates his pastoral concern for you,” Bishop O’Kelly said in a letter to the people of the Archdiocese of Adelaide.

“Archbishop Wilson remains as Archbishop, but the exercise of episcopal responsibilities is transferred to the Apostolic Administrator. This appointment does not affect my present position; I remain Bishop of the Diocese of Port Pirie.

“I am fully aware there is an excellent group of Church officials presently serving the Archdiocese and the day-to-day administration will continue to be carried out by those to whom I, as Apostolic Administrator, delegate that authority.”

Bishop O’Kelly said the practical consequences of the appointment in terms of time commitment in the Port Pirie Diocese and in the Adelaide Archdiocese were still being worked through. The new arrangements would remain in place while Archbishop Wilson’s matters were being resolved.

In a statement following the appointment, the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference said it appreciated both the Holy Father’s pastoral concern for the Archdiocese and Bishop O’Kelly’s generosity in accepting the appointment.

“Bishop O’Kelly was born in Adelaide and served there as a priest and Auxiliary Bishop before his appointment to Port Pirie. He is well known in the Archdiocese of Adelaide and is well qualified for the role entrusted to him,” the statement said.

“As Apostolic Administrator, Bishop O’Kelly assumes administrative and executive authority in the Archdiocese until any future decision of the Pope, to whom an Apostolic Administrator is directly answerable.”

Ordained a Jesuit priest in 1972, Bishop O’Kelly has a long association with Catholic Education and received an Order of Australia (AM) in 1994 for services to education.

He served as headmaster of Saint Ignatius’ College in Adelaide from 1978 to 1982, when he was transferred as headmaster to Saint Ignatius’ College, Riverview in Sydney.

From 1979 to 1981 he was chairman of the South Australian Commission for Catholic Schools and in 1989 became the first Catholic elected as chairman of the Association of Heads of Independent Schools of Australia.

In 1993, he transferred back to Saint Ignatius’ College in Adelaide and as headmaster was responsible for the introduction of co-education and the junior primary in the college.

He has served as a member of the Consult for the Jesuit Provincial of the Australian Province, and as a priest was a member of the College of Consultors for the Archdiocese of Adelaide, from 2004 to 2006.

Bishop O’Kelly was ordained to the episcopate on September 14 2006, and was named as titular Bishop of Ath Truim, Ireland, and Auxiliary Bishop of Adelaide. He was installed as the eleventh Bishop of Port Pirie on June 10 2009.

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