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Bishop-elect no stranger to Australian Outback

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The recently-appointed Bishop-elect of Port Pirie Diocese, Fr Karol Kulczycki SDS, may be from Poland but he is no stranger to the Australian Outback, having ministered in Western Australia for 21 years.

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Bishop-elect Kulczycki is expected to arrive back in Australia from Poland at the end of next month to take responsibility for the vast diocese. Stretching from Uluru to Port Lincoln and from the Western Australian border to the River Murray, the diocese is three times the size of Poland.

The former head of the Salvatorians in Australia will become the 12th Bishop of Port Pirie – including the bishops who led what was from 1887 until 1951 the Diocese of Port Augusta.

He succeeds Bishop Greg O’Kelly SJ, who has been Bishop of Port Pirie since 2009. Bishop O’Kelly also served as Apostolic Administrator of the Archdiocese of Adelaide for almost two years.

Born in Poland in 1966, Fr Kulczycki was ordained to the priesthood in Trzebinia in 1994 and is currently based in Poland. He spent 21 years serving the Church in Western Australia, including in parish ministry, as vocations director and as a college chaplain.

In February 2018, while still serving in Australia, he was elected vice-provincial of the Polish province of the Society of the Divine Saviour, widely known as the Salvatorians.

“Just a few weeks ago I had an interview for our Salvatorian newsletter and was asked how and where I see myself in 10 or 20 years,” Fr Kulczycki said.

“I replied that I would be where God sent me. I did not expect that God would act so quickly in my life.

“God is working in mysterious ways in my life. Firstly, calling me unexpectedly to religious and priestly life; secondly, directing my heart to serve him in Australia and now serving him and his people in Port Pirie Diocese.

“Serving in different ministries and places in Western Australia gave me a bit of understanding of the beauty and vastness of the Australian land.

“I love the Australian Outback. Of course, it will take a bit of time for me to know the land, people, parishes, schools and other ministries.”

Bishop O’Kelly said the Diocese “welcomes Bishop-elect Karol with open arms”.

“We note his pastoral experience in country ministries, especially in Geraldton. Our people and clergy are loyal and committed, and all look forward to receiving Bishop-Elect Karol as our new chief pastor.”

Fr Kulczycki will be ordained a bishop in Poland on September 29 before coming to Australia for his installation in the Diocese.

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