The Diocese of Wagga Wagga has welcomed its new shepherd, Bishop Mark Edwards OMI, who was installed at solemn Mass in Saint Michael’s Cathedral on Wednesday 22 July – the Feast of Saint Mary Magdalene. The service occurred as the COVID-19 pandemic rages south of the border in Victoria – where Bishop Edwards previously served as Auxiliary Bishop of Melbourne.
Bishop Edwards asked for the intercession of Saint Mary Magdalene, on whose feast he was installed, to aid the Wagga diocese during the troubling time time of the Covid pandemic and into the future. “Mary Magdalene, Apostle to the Apostles, be with us as we navigate this mission and cling resolutely to Christ our Master,” he said.
Bishop Edwards encouraged his flock in perseverance and social responsibility during the pandemic. “I thank you for your perseverance and endurance during these COVID 19 times.”
Clergy, guests, and dignitaries across Australia who were unable attend due to the pandemic were nonetheless present via live-stream – including Bishop Edward’s parents and his Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate community in Melbourne.
Bishops who did attend and con-celebrated Mass included Archbishop Anthony Fisher OP of Sydney, Archbishop Christopher Prowse STD of Canberra-Goulburn, Archbishop Emeritus Francis Carrol DD of Canberra-Goulburn, Bishop Columba Macbeth-Green of Wilcannia-Forbes and Bishop Michael Kennedy of Armidale. Local clergy from the diocese were also present.
Appointed by Pope Francis earlier this year, Bishop Edwards ends a four year vacancy in the Diocese of Wagga.
The Papal Nuncio to Australia, Archbishop Adolfo Tito Yllana, procalimed Pope Francis’s decree appointing Bishop Edwards. “We have considered, venerable brother, your clear spiritual and human gifts as auxiliary bishop together with skill in your work,” Pope Francis wrote.
Other distinguished guests in attendance at the service included deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack, Anglican Bishop of the Riverina Donald Kirk, and local Wiradjuri elder Aunty Kath Withers.