Amid the soaring neo-gothic grandeur of Sacred Heart Cathedral, former Ballarat priest Shane Mackinlay was consecrated as the eighth bishop of the historic goldrush town of Bendigo in central Victoria on Wednesday 16 October.
Archbishop Peter Comensoli, Archbishop of Melbourne, was the principal consecrator, joined by Bishops Leslie Tomlinson, Bishop Emeritus of Sandhurst, and Paul Bird CSsR of Ballarat as co-consecrators.
Numerous clergy attend
Over 30 Bishops and 300 clergy were present at the ordination, including the Papal Nuncio to Australia, Archbishop Tito Adolfo Ylana and President of the Australian Catholic Bishops’ Conference, Archbishop Mark Coleridge.
Dignitaries, family, friends and parishioners numbered close to 2000 people, including those from as far as Ballarat, Echuca, Shepparton, Wangaratta and Wodonga.
Bishop Shane’s brother Jason made the journey from Hamburg, Germany and Victoria Jarvis, who was at Bishop Shane’s ordination to the priesthood in Ballarat, drove nearly seven hours from Adelaide for the occasion.
The Episcopal Ordination was live streamed on YouTube for those who could not make the Ordination in person and was viewed from 54 countries, with the top national audiences outside Australia being the USA, Canada, the Philippines and Vietnam.
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 Peter 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.
In a heartfelt address, Bishop Shane 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 Leslie Tomlinson, who moments prior had led Bishop Shane through Sacred Heart Cathedral to give his first blessing to his people as Bishop.
Bishop Shane 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,” he said.
The day could not escape Ballarat-Bendigo rivalries as Bishop Shane 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.”
Monsignor Frank Marriott, former Vicar General of Sandhurst, was more emphatic after Mass when he made the claim to WIN News’s Will Hogan that “today is a bit special, because he’s a country lad from Ballarat, and [therefore] we’ve conquered Ballarat again!”