By Fr Andrew Chase
HAVING been waiting for some time for a bishop to replace our much loved Bishop Brian Heenan, it was a wonderful surprise to hear that the Holy Father had asked Fr Michael McCarthy to be our tenth bishop.
The age of social media means that living in Rome as I currently am gave me no advance knowledge of the news – it was all over Facebook by the time I heard.
I first met Fr Michael when he took on the role of rector in my third year at Pius XII Seminary.
Fr Michael came to the job at a challenging moment – the seminary was in a time of change, having moved out of the old buildings at Banyo, and into formation houses in the suburb of Wavell Heights.
There was a lot of uncertainty about the best way forward for the formation process and a huge amount of the planning for the future fell into the new rector’s lap.
It’s only as I look back now that I realise just how big a task Fr Michael had, and how skilfully he managed the process of establishing the wonderful Holy Spirit Seminary we now have at Banyo.
But even more than his administrative and planning skills, what I appreciate most about Fr Michael from my time as a seminarian under his leadership, is his kindness and compassion.
Fr Michael is a priest with the heart of Christ, with a great care for people.
Despite the often stressful administrative demands of his role he always had time to engage with the students on a personal level.
I appreciated that greatly as a seminarian and I know that that same heart will be present in Fr Michael’s new role as Bishop of Rockhampton.
I am grateful that Fr Michael has said yes to the Holy Father’s request, but it comes as no great surprise that he did; he has been saying yes to God for some time now and I am sure that the priests, religious and people of Rockhampton will be blessed because of it.
May God bless his new ministry as our diocesan shepherd, and may God keep him always faithful to the truth and the love of Christ.
Fr Andrew Chase is a priest of the Diocese of Rockhampton who is studying at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome.