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Updated: Requiem Masses to be held in Sydney and Wollongong for Bishop Peter Ingham

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Bishop Peter Ingham. Photo: Courtesy of the Diocese of Wollongong

Requiem Masses for former Wollongong Bishop Peter Ingham will take place at St Mary’s Cathedral in Sydney and St Francis Xavier Cathedral in Wollongong before his interment in Wollongong on 10 May.

Peter Ingham, the fourth bishop of Wollongong and a former auxiliary bishop of Sydney, died peacefully on 26 April at 83 years of age. He had served almost 60 years of priesthood.

He will lie in state at St Mary’s Cathedral from 4pm on Wednesday 8 May before Archbishop Anthony Fisher OP leads celebration of a Requiem Mass from 5.30pm. All are welcome to attend and it will also be livestreamed.

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The following day, a solemn reception of his body will take place at St Francis Xavier Cathedral on Thursday 9 May 2024 at 6.30pm followed by Evening Prayer. A solemn liturgy will follow at 7.30pm.

On 10 May a solemn Pontifical Mass of Christian burial will be offered for the bishop at St Francis Xavier Cathedral commencing at 10.30am. Interment will take place in the cathedral grounds at the conclusion of Mass.

A large number of people are expected to attended, with limited seating in the cathedral an overflow marquee will be erected. The funeral will be livestreamed at https://dow.sh/livestream

Dean of St Mary’s Cathedral Fr Don Richardson said Bishop Ingham was a widely-known and well-liked Sydney priest and bishop before his appointment to Wollongong in 2001.

“I will miss his friendship and encouragement, and I’m sure many people who knew him will wish to bid him a prayerful farewell,” he said.

“I invite those who would be unable to attend his funeral in Wollongong to join us at St Mary’s Cathedral in the presence of his mortal remains where we will commend his soul to the Lord he served with great fidelity and optimism.”

Other Catholic leaders have also paid tribute to Bishop Ingham for his decades of faithful service to the church.

“We mourn the passing of Bishop Peter Ingham, who died last night,” said Archbishop Fisher in a statement.

“Bishop Peter was ordained a priest in 1964 for the Archdiocese of Sydney. He served as Private Secretary to Cardinal Freeman, and in 1993 was ordained as auxiliary bishop of Sydney, before being appointed Bishop of Wollongong in 2001 until his retirement.

“Bishop Peter was a humble servant of the Lord and dedicated his life to our Church and Christ for 60 years.

“Funeral details will be announced in due course.

“May the Lord welcome him with open arms, let perpetual light shine upon him, and through the mercy of God may Bishop Peter rest in peace.”

Bishop of Wollongong Brian Mascord said the bishop, who was diagnosed with fibrosis of the lungs in 2016, had been a “spiritual father” of the Illawarra, Macarthur, Shoalhaven regions and Southern Highlands.

“We offer him a heartfelt ‘well done, good and faithful servant’ (Matthew 25:23), and we take comfort in the sure hope that we now have another advocate in the presence of our Lord praying for the needs and salvation of the people of God in the Diocese of Wollongong,” read his statement.

“A man of God—a man for the people. May his noble soul rest in peace.”

Bishop Peter Ingham. Photo: Diocese of Wollongong

Born in Crows Nest, Sydney, Peter was the only child of George and Marjorie Ingham (nee Hyndes).

He was educated at St Leonard’s Primary School, Naremburn, and St Pius X College, Chatswood, and studied for the priesthood at St Columba’s Seminary, Springwood, and at St Patrick’s Seminary, Manly.

He was ordained by the late Cardinal Sir Norman Gilroy in St Mary’s Cathedral, Sydney, in 1964. Following various parish appointments in the Archdiocese of Sydney, Peter was appointed private secretary to Cardinal James Freeman, and then as the secretary of the Archdiocese of Sydney.

The bishop during his ministry as an auxiliary bishop of Sydney. Photo: Diocese of Wollongong

He was nominated as a monsignor by Pope John Paul II in 1986, and in July 1993 he was consecrated auxiliary bishop of Sydney. On 25 July 2001, Peter was installed as the fourth bishop of Wollongong, and with his typically selfless dedication, served the diocese for 16 years, retiring in November 2017.

Bishop Ingham also served on several committees of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference, and in 2006 was elected president of the Federation of Catholic Bishops Conferences of Oceania.

In October 2008 he participated in the 12th Synod of Bishops at the Vatican, and in October the following year was appointed by Pope Benedict XVI a member of the Special Assembly for Africa of the Synod of Bishops.

He was appointed a Member of the Order of Australia in 2022 by the late Queen Elizabeth II for “significant service to the Catholic Church in Australia”.

“The sad news of the death of Bishop Ingham, while not unexpected, will be felt deeply by many people: his family; the laity, religious and clergy of Wollongong diocese; his brother bishops and his many friends and admirers,” Australian Catholic Bishops Conference President Timothy Costelloe said.

“As we entrust him with great confidence to the boundless compassion and mercy of God we remember him as a man of deep faith, rich in human qualities, who embodied so well what it means to be a faithful Shepherd of God’s people according to the mind and heart of Christ.

“Eternal rest give to him, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon him. May he rest in peace.”

A “shining light”

“Peter was a shining light among the Australian bishops in my time – a wonderful human being, humble, courteous and unfailingly good-humoured,” posted Brisbane Archbishop Mark Coleridge to social media.

“He was also a really fine bishop through turbulent times – a servant leader who loved the Church, shunned ideology and was never a self-promoter.

“He was much missed in the Bishops Conference when he retired and he’ll be missed by all now that he moves over the horizon into eternity. May he rest in peace and rise in glory.”

Melbourne Archbishop Peter Comensoli paid tribute to his friend as “a great apostle of joy and hope.”

“A man of God, through and through. A humble leader. An incessant dad-joke teller. (He used to introduces us to others as ‘Pete and re-Pete’.) My friend. May he rest in eternal peace.”

“Such sad news,” wrote Member for Campbelltown Greg Warren. “Most Reverend Peter Ingham was a good friend to many in Campbelltown and our region during his time as Bishop and long after.

“He will be sorely missed by many and may he rest in peace.”

The announcement from the Diocese of Wollongong remembered the bishop as “welcoming, happy and caring” in nature, with a “prodigious memory for names and faces”.

Bishop Peter Ingham has been remembered as joyful and devoted to ministry. Photo: Diocese of Wollongong

“He was compassionate and approachable, faith-filled and prayerful—in essence, a servant leader. His greatest joy was to be a disciple of Jesus and a true shepherd of God’s people,” it read.

“He faced his death with the dignity, graciousness and serenity that had characterised his life.”

This article was originally published under the headline, ‘Bishop Peter Ingham remembered as a “humble” and faithful servant following his death at age 83’.

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