His Holiness Pope Francis appointed the Very Reverend Father Patrick Michael O’Regan as the ninth Bishop of Sale on 4 December 2014.
Bishop-elect O’Regan is currently the Vicar General and Dean of the Cathedral in the Diocese of Bathurst.
President of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference, Archbishop Denis Hart, warmly welcomed the appointment. “Fr Patrick is a gifted and pastoral priest with a love of the country and wide experience. Bishops, priests and people will welcome him as he prepares to be ordained for the care of the diocese and its people.”
“In responding to Pope Francis’ choice I see the hand of God somehow in all of this, as the God of surprises,” Bishop-elect O’Regan told the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference.
“I feel a real blend of surprise, excitement, numbness, humility and sadness. Surprise at being chosen, excitement at being able to be a source of unity and hope to the People of God in the Diocese of Sale, still numb from having one’s world turned upside down, a very Advent-ish, John the Baptist thing to do.”
The 56-year-old priest added, “I feel humility as the path of service opens up more deeply before me and sadness that after 31 years of working in, and 56 years of being part of, the Diocese of Bathurst. I’m a little like Abram in being called away to Sale, ‘Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you’ (Genesis 12:1).”
“This is a memorable week for the Diocese of Sale, we have been mourning the passing of Bishop Jeremiah Coffey. May he rest in peace and may the good God continue to bless the Diocese of Sale,” Bishop-elect O’Regan said.
Born on 8 October 1958, Bishop-elect O’Regan was educated at Saint Joseph’s Primary School, Perthville and Saint Stanislaus’ College, Bathurst.
Studying for the priesthood at St Columba College, Springwood and St Patrick’s College, Manly, Bishop-elect O’Regan was ordained a priest for the Diocese of Bathurst on 2 September 1983.
In 1994, Bishop-elect O’Regan completed higher studies in France. He obtained a Licentiate in Liturgy and Sacramental Theology from the Institut Catholique, Paris.
The Bathurst native is a member of the National Liturgical Council and Diocesan Coordinator for the ongoing formation of priests and permanent deacons.
Bishop-elect O’Regan has taught at the Catholic Institute of Sydney and at Charles Stuart University, Bathurst.
The Diocese of Sale has been awaiting a bishop since Bishop Christopher Prowse was elevated to Archbishop of Canberra and Goulburn on 12 September 2013.
Fr Peter Slater, Parish Priest of Berwick, was appointed Diocesan Administrator during this period. On hearing the news, Fr Slater said, “I’m looking forward to Fr Patrick coming to the Diocese of Sale as our next bishop. I’ve known him since 2008, when he was Diocesan Administrator in Bathurst. He is a thoughtful man with many years experience as a pastor in country parishes, which is great for our diocese and parishioners in the heart of the Gippsland region.”