Pope Francis has announced Reverend Father Shane Mackinlay has been appointed the next Catholic Bishop of Sandhurst.
Father Mackinlay, who was the Parish Priest of St Michael's Parish Bungaree in the Diocese of Ballarat, will replace the retiring Most Reverend Leslie Rogers Tomlinson.
"I love teaching and also being involved with people in their local parish communities and I very much look forward to continuing those two ministries in a different way in my new role," Bishop-Elect Mackinlay said.
"I've greatly enjoyed being a priest in the Ballarat diocese and I'm very pleased that I can continue my ministry among the people of regional Victoria."
Father Mackinlay was ordained as a priest for the Ballarat Diocese in 1991 and has serviced the parishes of Hamilton, Colac and Ballarat Cathedral.
He was the spokesperson for the Catholic Church from 2012 to 2014 during the Victorian Parliamentary Inquiry into the Handling of Child Abuse by Religious and other Non-Government Organisations.
Father Mackinlay was also the secretary to the Bishop of Ballarat from 1998 to 2001, and has been the chairperson of the Bishop's Advisory Council of the Ballarat diocese since it was established in 2009.
Father Mackinlay's appointment follows the resignation of Most Reverend Leslie Rogers Tomlinson, who has reached the Catholic Church's retirement age.
Bishop Tomlinson has been the Bishop of Sandhurst since 2012.
"I am delighted with the appointment of Father Mackinlay, as he is a man with extensive talents, deep priestly commitment and considerable skill, that he will bring to the leadership of the diocese," Bishop Tomlinson said in a letter to the congregation.
"I am certain that in partnership with his leadership, the Diocese will continue to grow as a community in Christ and as Christ's light in the world."
Father Mackinlay said he had observed Bishop Tomlinson's "generous and diligent service" in Sandhurst and was grateful for the welcome Bishop Tomlinson has extended to him as his successor.
Father Mackinlay will be ordained as Bishop on October 16 at the Sacred Heart Cathedral in Bendigo.
The Sandhurst Diocese covers more than 40 parishes across north central and north east Victoria, including churches in Bendigo, Myrtleford, Echuca, Shepparton and Wodonga.
Full letter from Most Reverend Leslie Rogers Tomlinson
With joy and thanksgiving, I write to inform you that His Holiness, Pope Francis has appointed Very Reverend Associate Professor Shane Mackinlay as the eighth Bishop of Sandhurst. This appointment follows Pope Francis' acceptance of my resignation as Bishop of Sandhurst, having attained the retirement age. This appointment was announced at 12:00 noon, Roman time (8:00pm this evening local time), 23rd July, 2019.
Dr Mackinlay was ordained a priest for the Ballarat Diocese in 1991 and has served in the priestly ministry, in various capacities, and until now, has been the Master of Catholic Theological College, University of Divinity, East Melbourne and Parish Priest of Bungaree, Diocese of Ballarat. Dr Mackinlay's CV is attached.
I am delighted with the appointment of Father Mackinlay, as he is a man with extensive talents, deep priestly commitment and considerable skill, that he will bring to the leadership of the Diocese. I am certain that in partnership with his leadership the Diocese will continue to grow as a community in Christ and as Christ's light in the world.
On behalf of the Diocese, I offer Father Mackinlaw a very warm welcome and assurances of our prayerful support for him, as he prepares for his Episcopal Ordination and his ministry as our Bishop. The Episcopal Ordination is tentatively set for Wednesday, 16th October, 2019 at Sacred Heart Cathedral, Bendigo at 12:00 noon, to which you are most cordially invited.
With gratitude to God for his graces, I thank you all for your goodness, prayers and support of me during the last seven and a half years as your Bishop. May God richly bless you for your goodness.
Yours sincerely in Christ,
Most Reverend Leslie R Tomlinson DD
Apostolic Administrator, Diocese of Sandhurst
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