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New Archbishop of Adelaide appointed

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Bishop Patrick O’Regan, currently Bishop of the Diocese of Sale in Victoria, will be the new Archbishop of Adelaide.

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His appointment by Pope Francis yesterday comes 20 months after the resignation of Archbishop Philip Wilson, who served the archdiocese from 2001.

Announcing the appointment to the faithful in South Australia, Apostolic Administrator Bishop Greg O’Kelly SJ said “we thank God that our long period of waiting is over and express our delight and welcome to our new Archbishop”.

Bishop O’Regan said his appointment comes at a critical moment for Catholics in Adelaide and across the country.

“With Adelaide set to host the first assembly of the historic Fifth Plenary Council of Australia later this year, this is an exciting time for the Archdiocese of Adelaide,” he said.

“I look forward to playing my part alongside the people of the Archdiocese in welcoming to Adelaide the Church from right across Australia.”

Bishop O’Regan was born in Bathurst in 1958. He was educated at St Joseph’s Primary School in Perthville, the village in which he grew up, and at St Stanislaus’ College Bathurst. He undertook seminary training at St Columba’s College Springwood and St Patrick’s College Manly, and was ordained a priest for the Diocese of Bathurst in 1983.

He was appointed Bishop of Sale in December 2014, with his episcopal consecration in February 2015. He holds a licentiate in sacred liturgy and sacramental theology from the Institut Catholique de Paris and is a member of the International Commission on English in the Liturgy.

He thanked Bishop Greg O’Kelly SJ, who since then in addition to his role as Bishop of Port Pirie has served as Apostolic Administrator of Adelaide and will continue to do so until Bishop O’Regan’s installation – the date for which is still to be decided.

“Bishop O’Kelly has been exceptionally generous and inspirational in overseeing the entire Church in South Australia during this time and I know the people of Adelaide have appreciated his wise leadership,” Bishop O’Regan said.

“They have also no doubt been looking forward to the Pope’s announcement of a new Archbishop. I pray that I will be the pastor that the Church in Adelaide needs at this time.”

Bishop O’Regan said the announcement came on a special day (March 19).

“As someone who has a deep Josephite spirituality, it feels quite fitting – even providential – that Pope Francis has chosen today, St Joseph’s feast day, to call me to this new mission,” he said.

“I will certainly be asking St Joseph to intercede for me and for the Church in Adelaide.”

Australian Catholic Bishops Conference president Archbishop Mark Coleridge said Bishop O’Regan has “shown himself to be a man of unusual gifts, one of which is his deep sense of pastoral care for the people entrusted to his care and another of which is his quirky sense of humour”.

“Bishop Pat’s brothers within the Conference join him in praying for his new mission as shepherd of the Church in Adelaide, which has known difficulties in recent times but which can now look to the future more peacefully,” Archbishop Coleridge said.

In welcoming Archbishop-designate O’Regan, who will be the 12th bishop of Adelaide and the ninth archbishop, Bishop O’Kelly thanked the people and clergy of the Archdiocese for their “great fidelity to Christ’s mission during this time of waiting”.

“In particular I thank Father Philip Marshall who as Vicar General has given such outstanding and persevering service to the People of God in the Archdiocese,” Bishop O’Kelly said.

“In taking up office, the new Archbishop succeeds Archbishop Philip Wilson who served the Archdiocese from 2001 until his retirement in 2018. We thank him for his years of service to the Church of Adelaide, wishing him well and praying for his improved health.”

The Office and responsibilities of Apostolic Administrator continue until the installation of the new Archbishop.

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