New chapter for Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle following announcement of new bishop
Catholic Bishop Michael Malone has advised that the eighth bishop of the Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle will be Reverend William Wright. The announcement was made by Pope Benedict XVI in Rome on Monday 4th April 2011 at 8.00pm Eastern Standard Time.
Bishop-elect Wright was ordained a priest at St Mary’Ÿs Cathedral, Sydney, 20th August 1977 and is currently the Parish Priest of All Saints Liverpool in the Catholic Archdiocese of Sydney.
Born on 26th October 1952, Fr Wright is the third and youngest child of Jack and Nan Wright (both deceased). He has a sister, Patricia and a brother, Robert.
Father Wright is currently a member of the Archbishop’Ÿs Council of Priests and is Chairman of the Sydney Archdiocesan Catholic Schools Board.
Father Wright will take up his appointment within three months of today’Ÿs announcement and will be ordained Bishop of Maitland-Newcastle in Sacred Heart Cathedral, as was Bishop Michael in February 1995.
In a communiqué to members of the diocesan community, Bishop Michael wrote, “While our diocese has achieved much in recent years the profile of the Church has suffered and our mission has been compromised because of the events we have faced. After considerable discernment, I believe it is time for a new leader with fresh energy and vision who can take the diocese to a new stage of renewal.”
Bishop Michael acknowledges that the diocese presents a new leader with difficult issues, but he also feels strongly that there is much to be grateful for in the community he has led for sixteen years. “The deep faith of so many people, the immense generosity of those who serve the Church in professional and voluntary capacities, the initiatives taken by individuals and groups to address areas of real need, the determination to rise above scandal and shame – all these promise support and encouragement to my successor.”
Contemplating the future, Bishop Michael says, “It is a strange feeling to be facing retirement. Part of me feels great relief, but another part of me will miss many aspects of being a bishop: visiting parishes; celebrating the sacraments with the people; collaborating with people committed to the mission of the Church; witnessing the wonderful work of diocesan staff, volunteers and agencies; being caught up in the broader Australian Church, and joining with other Christian leaders and their communities.”
When Bishop Michael leaves the diocese to live in retirement, he will not cease to be a pastor. He said recently, “All my priestly life has been spent in service of my sisters and brothers. For as long as God gives me strength I will continue to serve in whatever ways are possible.” He asked his people to “Please pray for me as I will for you.”
Father Wright will be warmly welcomed by Bishop Michael and by members of the diocesan community. Early in his episcopate he will no doubt explore the diocese and meet as many people as possible, as he comes to know his new home.