By Paul Dobbyn
WILCANNIA-Forbes’ new bishop Columba Macbeth-Green has described his recent episcopal ordination in Parkes as “nerve wracking but absolutely fantastic”.
Speaking from Broken Hill several days after his installation in the city’s Sacred Heart Cathedral, Bishop Macbeth-Green said the parishioners and citizens of both locations in his far-flung NSW diocese had given him a “wonderful welcome”.
He had words of praise also for the cathedral describing it as “a pearl in the middle of the outback”.
The Pauline priest and former rector of the Shrine of Our Lady Help of Christians at Marian Valley, Canungra, was already planning ahead. He was looking forward to returning to the bishop’s office in Forbes and starting work on July 9.
“Yesterday I was out and about visiting several nursing homes run by the Knights of the Southern Cross in Broken Hill,” Bishop Macbeth-Green said. “Today I’m going to relax and look around town before heading off on the big drive back to Forbes.”
He had his episcopal ordination in Parkes’ Holy Family Church on Thursday, July 3.
Bishop Macbeth-Green’s installation was held in Broken Hill, a drive of about 10 hours away, on Saturday, July 5.
The holding of these events in separate locations was unusual, the result of the diocese’s vast coverage of more than 410,000sq km and 22 parishes from Broken Hill to Bourke and Deniliquin.
Apostolic nuncio Archbishop Paul Gallagher was the main ordaining bishop since the seat of the Sydney Archbishop is vacant. He was also principal celebrant at the installation.
Co-consecrators were Armidale Bishop Michael Kennedy, a former seminary classmate, and Wollongong Bishop Peter Ingham.
Bishop Macbeth-Green’s order’s Father General Fr Arnold Chrapkowski, from the motherhouse in Poland, was among 30 bishops at the ordination.
Also among those present were Brisbane Archbishop Mark Coleridge and Rockhampton Bishop Michael McCarthy.
Adelaide Emeritus Archbishop Leonard Faulkner, Port Pirie Bishop Gregory O’Kelly and Darwin Bishop Eugene Hurley were among bishops at the Broken Hill installation
In September, Bishop Macbeth-Green heads for Rome with fellow recently-ordained Bishop of Rockhampton Michael McCarthy for further studies on his new role.
“It’s what’s known as ‘Baby Bishops’ School’,” he said. “There’s certainly still heaps to learn.”