Bendigo gets a new bishop

Updated November 7 2012 - 7:03am, first published February 3 2012 - 4:33am
New bishop Les Tomlinson.
New bishop Les Tomlinson.

Bendigo’s Catholic community has a new spiritual leader who says he will dedicate himself to “reaching out to the people”.Bishop Les Tomlinson was named as the new Bishop of Sandhurst by Pope Benedict XVI late yesterday evening.He succeeds Bishop Joseph Grech, who died in December 2010.Born and raised in Mildura, Bishop Tomlinson said his new role would be a home-coming of sorts, returning to the country after a long stint in metropolitan Melbourne.He said he was humbled to receive the position, especially as a successor to Bishop Grech.“Bishop Joe’s gifts to Sandhurst were many, but significantly amongst them was his unmistakable enthusiasm for, and deep commitment to, the Lord Jesus. As each of us is different, I pray that I can make my contribution to the diocese through my gifts, to further build the life of Christ in the Sandhurst Diocese.” Monsignor Frank Marriott, who has been looking after the diocese since Bishop Joe’s death, said Bishop Tomlinson’s appointment was excellent news for the local Catholic community.“First and foremost it means they now have a pastor to whom their welfare is entrusted,” he said.“In Catholic parlance he is the chief teacher, chief celebrant of the liturgy and he is our representative and successor of the Apostles.”Monsignor Marriott said Bishop Tomlinson’s country background and significant experience would be of great benefit to the diocese.“He is a country bloke from Mildura and I think that worked in his favour,” he said. “And he has been the Vicar General of the biggest Catholic diocese in Australia, so that gives him great experience in administration work and great experience in dealing with lots of people, lots of priests and lots of situations.“So on those two levels he is well qualified to lead a country diocese.”

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