Pope Francis appoints another Australian bishop
THE Vatican is on a roll. Just one month after announcing a new Bishop of Wagga Wagga, after a nearly three-year wait, Pope Francis has appointed another Australian Bishop, Melbourne priest Greg Bennet, to the Diocese of Sale in Victoria.
The announcement was made late on Saturday evening Australian time.
Former banker Monsignor Bennet, 57, joined the Melbourne seminary in 1986 and was ordained in 1992. He was vicar-general for seven years until 2019 and has also led the Ministry to Priests and the Office for Evangelisation.
Msgr Bennet will be the 10th Bishop of Sale, taking over from Archbishop Patrick O’Regan who recently took the helm in Adelaide, another post which was vacant a long time.
Last month it was announced that Melbourne Auxiliary Bishop Mark Edwards OMI would become the next Bishop of Wagga Wagga, with his episcopal ordination scheduled for July 22.
In Melbourne, Msgr Bennet will move from the trendy inner suburb of West Brunswick, where he started as parish priest just four months ago, to a diocese that stretches from Melbourne’s outer eastern suburbs, through Gippsland, to the New South Wales border.
Archbishop Christopher Prowse was the 8th Bishop of Sale before moving to Canberra and Goulburn.
Pope Benedict XVI appointed him to Sale on June 18, 2009, and he was announced as the Canberra-Goulburn Archbishop four years later on September 12, 2013.
Msgr Bennet, who did postgraduate study in pastoral counselling at the Jesuit Loyola University in Baltimore as well as in sacred theology at the Angelicum University in Rome, said he recognised the enormous responsibility and privilege of the new role.
“It is a responsibility which cannot be exercised in isolation, but in close cooperation with the clergy, the faithful and those in diocesan leadership,” he said.
“I am looking forward to being among and working with the clergy and the faithful of the Diocese of Sale.
“I know I come to Sale as a stranger, but I pray that we shall grow together as brothers and sisters in the Lord.”
Msgr Bennet noted that many people in Sale suffered, and some continue to suffer, following the recent bushfires.
“The diocese has responded with great care, compassion and charity to those who lived through such a traumatic experience and began to reorient their lives,” he said.
Australian Catholic Bishops Conference president Archbishop Mark Coleridge welcomed the prompt appointment of a new Bishop of Sale.
“It is all the more gratifying that the man chosen is Msgr Greg Bennet, whose personal qualities and range of experience in Melbourne and elsewhere will stand him in good stead for what awaits him in Gippsland,” Archbishop Mark said.
“Msgr Bennet will be a blessing not only to his new diocese but also to the Bishops Conference at a time when the Church in Australia is looking to the Plenary Council and beyond.”
There is no date for Msgr Bennet’s episcopal ordination.