On the Solemnity of St Patrick, over 550 guests, including the Apostolic Nuncio, Archbishop Charles Balvo, Archbishop Anthony Fisher, bishops from around Australia and representatives from every parish in the Diocese, filled Sacred Heart Cathedral to witness the significant holy event.
Ahead of his installation, Aurora asked Bishop Michael Kennedy a number of questions. His answers are below.
To watch his installation, click here.
Question: Do you have any observations of our Diocese, its people and programs that you would like to share?
Bishop Michael Kennedy: At this early stage, it is not possible for me to speak on specifics but my first impression of the Diocese and the people I met is that there is simultaneously a full and honest acknowledgement of all aspects of the Diocese’s story together with a missionary impulse to be an outward facing Church focussed on spreading the Gospel rather than maintaining the status quo.
Q: Many in our Diocese are still feeling the loss of the late Bishop Bill Wright. Did you ever meet him? If so, when and where, and what were your impressions of him?
Bishop Michael Kennedy: I knew Bishop Bill well. We would often see each other at various bishops’ meetings. What impressed me most was his humanity, by which I mean his kindness to people, his respect for people with different opinions, and his good humour in all situations. I miss him, so I can only imagine how much people of the Diocese are missing him. Interestingly, during my visit I stayed overnight at the Bishop’s House in Maitland and for dinner got a kebab at the local kebab shop. The proprietor and I got talking and he told me how he had known Bishop Bill very well and how he loved the long chats they used to have. That says a lot about Bishop Bill.
Q: Were you surprised to be appointed as the ninth Bishop of Maitland-Newcastle?
Bishop Michael Kennedy: The Nuncio came to visit me in Armidale and asked me if I would accept Pope Francis’ appointment to be the new Bishop of Maitland-Newcastle. I did not hesitate to say ‘yes’, for whilst I have been happy serving the Lord and His people in Armidale, I determined many years ago that I would seek to live my life by saying ‘yes’ to God. It’s a good way to live!
Q: Is there anything about you more personally, not in your position as Bishop that you would be comfortable with sharing with our readers?
Bishop Michael Kennedy: I believe family is very important. I am very blessed to belong to a close, supportive, and loving family that is passionate about three things: faith, family, and football. Admittedly, the football is the AFL kind so I am aware I will need to undergo a ‘conversion’ of sorts! I love bushwalking, so am looking forward to exploring Mungo Brush as well as the National Parks in the west of the diocese. I also enjoy a walk on the beach and swimming in the surf, so am keen to visit the beautiful local beaches I have heard so much about. This will be a real treat for someone who has lived nearly his whole life inland. I am so much looking forward to visiting all the parts of the diocese to meet its people and enjoy its natural beauty.
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