Bishop Shane Mackinlay, the eighth Bishop of Sandhurst, was ordained to the episcopacy in Bendigo’s Sacred Heart Cathedral yesterday.
Melbourne Archbishop Peter A. Comensoli was the principal consecrator, joined by Bishop Leslie Tomlinson, Bishop Emeritus of Sandhurst, and Ballarat Bishop Paul Bird CSsR as co-consecrators. More than 30 Bishops and 300 clergy were present at the ordination, including the Papal Nuncio to Australia, Archbishop Tito Adolfo Ylana and Australian Catholic Bishops Conference president Archbishop Mark Coleridge.
In a heartfelt address, Bishop Mackinlay thanked friends from his parishes in Ballarat, Bungaree and Gordon, colleagues from the Catholic Theological College, the University of Divinity.
The clergy and religious of Sandhurst and his fellow bishops were thanked for their support and encouragement, particularly his predecessor Bishop Tomlinson, who moments prior had led Bishop Mackinlay through Sacred Heart Cathedral to give his first blessing to his people.
Bishop Mackinlay acknowledged the difficulty of being Catholic and building up the reign of God in contemporary Australia.
“These are challenging times in which to do this, with many people feeling deeply hurt and disillusioned by the Church,” he said.
“I take those challenges very seriously; responding to them must be integral to whatever we do.
“We can only be faithful to this by placing our trust in God, sharing our gifts generously with those around us, and valuing and celebrating the riches that are brought by each member of our community.”
Dignitaries, family, friends and parishioners numbered close to 2000 people, including those from as far as Ballarat, Echuca, Shepparton, Wangaratta and Wodonga.
The spiritual unity of the Church and the mission of bishops as Good Shepherds and successors to the Apostles was elucidated in Archbishop Comensoli’s homily, drawing on musical imagery.
“It is for all of us – bishops, priests, deacons, religious and lay faithful – to join in the singing of Christ into this time and place. Yet, as Paul goes on to note, we each have a particular voice with which to proclaim the song of Jesus Christ,” Archbishop Comensoli said.
“So, to a few, the apostolic voice is given as a definitive character. Bishops are those among us to whom the song of Christ’s life takes on that particular shape and sound belonging to the Shepherd.
“The Christian song-line the bishop sings is not something he makes up, but a pathway he himself has received to lay out for others to follow.
“Fidelity, therefore, is his chief task in singing it: fidelity to what he has received and fidelity in passing it on,” he said.
The ordination was live streamed on YouTube for those who could not attend the Mass in person. It was viewed from 54 countries, with the top national audiences outside Australia being the United States, Canada, the Philippines and Vietnam.
Bishop Mackinlay’s brother, Jason, made the journey from Germany, while Victoria Jarvis, who was at the new bishop’s ordination to the priesthood in Ballarat, drove nearly seven hours from Adelaide for the occasion.
The day could not escape Ballarat-Bendigo rivalries as Bishop Mackinlay, who was ordained a priest for Ballarat Diocese, joked that the friendly inter-city competition “has not stood in the way of a wonderful contingent of people from Ballarat and from other parts of my life being here”.
Msgr Frank Marriott, former vicar general of Sandhurst, was more emphatic after Mass, telling WIN News that “today is a bit special, because he’s a country lad from Ballarat, and [therefore] we’ve conquered Ballarat again!”