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Bishop Patrick O’Regan named 12th Archbishop of Adelaide

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The Holy See Press Office released communication on 19 March that Pope Francis has named Diocese of Sale Bishop Patrick O’Regan as the 12th Archbishop of Adelaide. Photo: ACBC.

Pope Francis has last month appointed the Most Rev Patrick O’Regan, formerly Bishop of Sale in Victoria, as the 12th Archbishop of Adelaide.

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

It was reported in The Advertiser last week that Bishop O’Regan delivered a message of hope for Adelaide parishioners, despite being stranded in Victoria by coronavirus travel restrictions.

“People will come back to understanding what is important at this difficult time … being together, supporting each other and having hope,” he said from his diocese in Sale.

Bishop O’Regan was due to be in Adelaide on Wednesday 25 March for meetings, but instead was set to be briefed by key officeholders via video-conference about the issues faced by the Archdiocese, which has been without a leader for almost two years since the resignation of Archbishop Philip Wilson in July 2018.

“The video-conference will just be to take a pulse, get the temperature and get a sense of the recent history and how all the bits and pieces fit together,” Bishop O’Regan assured Adelaide Catholics.

“It is a bit frustrating not being able to physically be there.”

Bishop O’Regan said he hoped to be in Adelaide at some time after Easter, “even if I have to self-isolate for two weeks”.

According to Canon Law, his installation at Adelaide’s St Francis Xavier Cathedral must happen within two months of his election, but Bishop O’Regan said it would likely be a closed ceremony because of COVID-19 restrictions.

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.

“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 in an interview with the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference.

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

He thanked Bishop Greg O’Kelly SJ who, since June 2018, 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’Kelly made the announcement of Bishop O’Regan as new Archbishop on 19 March.

“We thank God that our long period of waiting is over and express our delight and welcome to our new Archbishop,” the Bishop of Port Pirie stated.

ACBC president Archbishop Mark Coleridge said Bishop O’Regan had “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 added.