The universality of the Catholic Church was on display on September 29 when Salvatorian priest Karol Kulczycki was ordained a bishop for the Diocese of Port Pirie in Trzebinia, Poland, by Philippines prelate and Apostolic Nuncio to Australia, Archbishop Adolfo Tito Yllana.
A map showing the vast Diocese of Port Pirie and the Australian flag were displayed prominently in the Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Jesus where ribbons were draped from the ceiling for the special occasion.
The COVID-19 pandemic, which prevented Fr Karol from returning to Australia for his ordination, was evident in the face masks on some members of the clergy and laity who attended the ordination.
Live streamed on Polish Catholic television, the three-hour service was conducted in English but with translated addresses and Polish commentary throughout.
After reading the Bull of Appointment, the Apostolic Nuncio said it was “Truly a fitting day to celebrate with great joy an extraordinary event of grace in recognising and acknowledging God’s work in man, choosing a priest to share in the fullness of Christ’s priesthood as bishop of the Catholic Church”.
“Even more significant is the celebration of this ordination of the feast of the Archangels who not only serve unceasingly before God’s throne but also protect the Church, God’s people in pilgrimage on earth and shine as models of ideal servants of God,” he said.
“May your episcopal experience be inspired by St Michael the Archangel to serve God’s flock as a faithful shepherd.
“Like the Archangel Gabriel may your proclamation of God’s Word, the Good News, be a source of nourishment for the faithful and like Archangel Raphael may God’s flock entrusted to you find security by your witness as you accompany them to the source of all truth, Jesus Christ.
“Fr Karol, as you embark on your mission in the land of Australia, where you served the local Church as a missionary for about 20 years, we pray to the blessed Mother to whom you have devoted your entire life as a faithful son that she may continue to guard you, protect you and lead you towards her son, the eternal priest and good shepherd.”
In a message on behalf of the faithful of the Diocese of Port Pirie, Bishop Greg O’Kelly SJ said the Diocese welcomed with “great joy” its new bishop.
“The people of God, along with myself, have been waiting more than four years for this appointment, so you can imagine the joy at the news,” he said.
“We know the wheels of Rome turn slowly, but our people down here had no idea they would take a detour through Poland.”
Bishop O’Kelly said there was a large Polish community in the south of the Diocese in the 1850s and many of their descendants were still present.
“Our first priests were Jesuits from Austria and St Mary MacKillop, Australia’s first saint, was very active through our area,” he said.
“Our Diocese is great in area, three times the size of Poland…we are small communities separated over large distances.”
Co-consecrators at the ordination were Archbishop Marek Jędraszewski, Metropolitan of Krakow and Bishop Jacek Kiciński CMF, Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Wrocław and chairman of the Committee of the Polish Episcopate for Consecrated Life.
The video of the ordination Mass can be viewed at https://www.sdsau.com/bishop/.
Bishop Karol’s installation in St Mark’s Cathedral, Port Pirie, will be held on Wednesday 28 October and will be livestreamed on the Diocesan website www.pp.catholic.org.au
Reproduced with permission from The Southern Cross, the online news publication of the Catholic Archdiocese of Adelaide.