Armidale's 10th and youngest Bishop ordained


Bishop Michael Kennedy News Story
Bishop Luc Matthys passing his responsibilities on to his successor, Bishop Michael Kennedy (with the ceremonial 'laying of the hands'). George Cardinal Pell looks on.
Most Rev Luc Matthys DD was the principal celebrant of the Episcopal Ordination and Installation of his successor as Bishop of Armidale, Most Rev Michael Kennedy DD, on Thursday 9 February.

The ceremony took place in the Cathedral of Saints Mary and Joseph in Armidale. Co-consecrators were George Cardinal Pell (Archbishop of Sydney) and Bishop Gerard Hanna (Bishop of Wagga).

There was a large gathering of clergy from the Catholic Diocese of Armidale and beyond, especially from the Wagga Diocese, where 43-year-old Bishop Kennedy had served since his Ordination to the Priesthood in August 1999.

Among the clergy in attendance were more than 90 priests, 29 bishops and two cardinals. Many members Bishop Kennedy's family and friends from the Riverina also made the trip to Armidale for the special occasion.

Bishop Kennedy said that he was both honoured and humbled to be chosen as a successor of the Apostles as the Bishop of Armidale.

"As I begin today the task of chief shepherd of the Church of Armidale, I am heartened in the knowledge that I am not alone," Bishop Kennedy said to parishioners at the ceremony.

"I have my brother priests, who, as co-operators with the bishop, also bear with him the co-responsibility of teaching, sanctifying and governing.

"I know that I can rely on the support and prayers of you, the faithful. Please pray that I do what is right and preach what is true. Please pray that the care of the shepherd never be lacking for his flock."

Balanced approach to pastoral ministry

Bishop Michael Kennedy News Story
Cardinal Pell and Bishop Michael Kennedy during the consecration of the wine.
Bishop Kennedy said that teaching and learning in the Armidale Diocese are fundamental concerns for him, particularly, such that "Catholics know and understand what it is to be Catholic".

Bishop Kennedy said he also plans to visits all parishes in the diocese as soon as possible, especially flood-affected parishes in Moree, Narrabri, Walgett and Wee Waa.

There are 23 parishes and 24 Catholic Schools in the 91,500 sq km Armidale Diocese. Flood waters in the north-west of the diocese prevented some parishioners from witnessing the consecration of their new Bishop, Armidale's 10th since 1869.

Yet, the attendance was estimated at close to 1,000. There were up to 850 people in the Cathedral, which was packed to capacity. Others were able to view the ceremony on television screens in a marquee.

Bishop Kennedy's education began in a small, two-class country school at San Isidore. He then attended a school run by the Christian Brothers in Wagga.

"I was so happy with my schooling that I decided to become a school teacher myself," Bishop Kennedy said.

"I taught for three years at Xavier Catholic High School in Albury.”

He then commenced studying to be a priest. He began his priestly formation at Vianney College, Wagga and completed his studies in Rome at Propaganda Fide, obtaining a Licentiate in Sacred Theology.

Ordained to the Priesthood in the Diocese of Wagga on 14 August 1999, he was the assistant priest in Griffith (1999-2000); Rector of St Francis’ Residential College at Charles Sturt University (2001-2003); assistant priest in Albury (2004-2006); and the Parish Priest of Leeton since 2007. His teaching background was one of his qualifications to be a Lecturer at Vianney College where he taught Moral Theology and Church History.

He was the Parish Priest of Leeton, NSW, and the Vicar Forane (Dean) of the Murrumbidgee Deanery when his appointment as Bishop of Armidale was announced in December last year.

Former Armidale local, Bishop Gerard Hanna of Wagga Wagga, was delighted that one of his senior priests was appointed.

"Over the last 13 years, he has shown a very balanced approach to his pastoral ministry. I believe that he is well suited in his new role,” Bishop Hanna said.

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