Bishop of Bathurst Michael McKenna sent a message on behalf of the Diocese of Bathurst, where Archbishop O’Regan was baptised and raised, and where he served with “great pastoral love and wisdom” as a deacon, priest, Diocesan Administrator, Vicar for Clergy and Vicar General.
“I unite our prayers with the people of the Archdiocese of Adelaide where he now begins a new ministry in another part of the Lord’s vineyard,” Bishop McKenna said.
“Archbishop O’Regan’s gifts of faith and humanity are well known to us; and we believe that the local church of Adelaide will be richly blessed by his leadership in fostering communion among them and, in union with the Bishop of Rome, with all the churches.
“We believe that he will continue to live by the words of Jesus, who called his disciples not servants, but friends.”
Governor Hieu Van Le welcomed Archbishop O’Regan to Adelaide in a video produced for the installation Mass by the Adelaide Archdiocese. He said he looked forward to meeting him.
The video also featured Archbishops Mark Coleridge and Tim Costelloe SDM.
Archbishop Coleridge, president of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference, told Archbishop O’Regan that he and his fellow bishops were “very much with you in spirit”.
“Whoever would have thought that the boy from Bathurst would end up the Bishop of Adelaide via Sale,” he said.
“I did some of my schooling in Adelaide and Adelaide has always been part of my own story and it’s always had a special place in my heart so I’d simply say to you open your heart to Adelaide and Adelaide will certainly open its heart to you.”
Archbishop Costelloe, president of the Plenary Council, said he looked forward to working with Archbishop O’Regan in “helping all of us in the Church in Australia to listen to what the Spirit is saying.”
Parishes, communities, schools and agencies in the Archdiocese also welcomed Archbishop O’Regan in the video and many added their best wishes and prayers on Facebook.
In a pledge to the people of Sale, Fr Philip Marshall and Sarah Moffatt said the people of Adelaide would promise to continue their commitment to the life and mission of the Church in working with him.
“We promise to listen, challenge and discern to achieve the best possible outcomes for the people of God,” they said.
“We promise to love and support you, as shepherd of our people.”
Interstate friends and relatives unable to attend due to the coronavirus travel restrictions posted congratulatory messages on social media for the man once known by locals as ‘Perthville Pat’.
Here are just a few of the posts:
A beautiful celebration Pat! Your family was with you in spirit and virtually – best wishes for your new life in Adelaide.
Congratulations Patrick! So happy to be with you in spirit for this wonderful day for Adelaide and for the whole Church in Australia. Dad is so proud today – he’s been telling everyone that you have a smile as big as Papa Francesco!
Hello Fr Pat. Long time no see. Saw your big installation today though. Proud of who our wee Lithgow curate has become, and know our ‘Granma Cheryl’ would’ve been over-the-moon (literally). Congratulations!
We were indeed blessed to have Bishop Pat as our Bishop and good shepherd. Our loss is your gain. And yes, God is good, very good indeed!
Open letter to our new Archbishop
Dear Archbishop Pat,
Welcome to our place. Pull up your chair to the table and join us as we sort out our destiny in this quiet corner of the country.
Congratulations on your appointment as Archbishop of Adelaide. We are looking forward to having a leader in place after so long without one. It has been too long. For myself, I welcome you to South Australia but I know that there are many others too who want to make you feel at home here. We are a neighbourly lot.
Moving celebration for Adelaide's new shepherd
As archdioceses go, we are well down the list in terms of status and size but we make up for it with warmth, big hearts and a great tradition of working together. We like to share the jobs around and get everyone involved. The Catholic Church in Adelaide has some wonderful people and we are proud of our heritage, with a strong lean towards community engagement and solidarity in caring for all our people – a bit like a family really. You should never feel you are on your own here and we expect you will not be a stranger for long.
These are weird times, what with social distancing and restrictions on gatherings, but we would like to ensure that ‘social’ distancing does not mean personal distancing. While numerous enough to encompass many cultures, we are small enough to know one another. With your natural orientation to pastoral care and ‘quirky sense of humour’ you will fit right in.
I look forward to your presence in Adelaide and, hopefully, we will even catch up at some stage.
For now, take care, Archbishop Pat, stay well and celebrate life.