Michael Kennedy will oversee the Catholic Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle after being appointed as the district’s ninth Bishop.
He takes over the reins from Bishop Bill Wright, following his untimely death in November 2021.
The Holy Father Pope Francis made the official announcement at noon in Rome (10pm local time) on Thursday 2 February.
“I willingly and heartily accept this new appointment, knowing that like all new endeavours, it will hold both joys and challenges,” Bishop Kennedy said.
“To be the chief pastor leading a diocese in worship, teaching, evangelisation and governance is an awesome privilege and responsibility.
“I am now looking forward to meeting and getting to know the priests and the people of the Diocese of Maitland- Newcastle.”
Bishop Kennedy was born in Wagga Wagga and educated in Catholic schools.
He gained a Diploma in Education from the Sydney Catholic College of Education and taught for several years at Xavier Catholic College in Albury, before starting seminary studies at Vianney College in rural New South Wales.
In 1994, he continued his academic studies in Rome, attaining a Licentiate in Sacred Theology and a Diploma in Mariology.
Ordained a priest in 1999, Bishop Kennedy has held a variety of positions across the state, most recently serving as the Bishop of Armidale, a role he has held since 2011.
He’s also previously undertaken responsibilities across education and as the Director of Vocations, reflecting his commitment to his motto ‘Euntes Docete’ (Go out and teach).
Father Greg Barker will stay on in the position as the Diocesan administrator until Bishop Kennedy is installed in the Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle.
A date for the Oath of Office, Profession of Faith and Taking of Possession has not yet been set.
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