By Paul Dobbyn
TOWNSVILLE diocese’s administrator Fr Mick Lowcock and chancellor Len Horner have spoken of Bishop Michael Putney’s unifying and positive influence even in death.
They are also starting to look ahead to who will replace such a dynamic leader.
Mr Horner said the level of media attention was “incredible”.
“It was a real tribute to Bishop Michael’s standing and acceptance in the wider community,” he said.
“We were also overwhelmed by the amount of interest in the live streaming of all the ceremonies on our diocesan website.
“This enabled so many people outside the diocese and overseas to participate in our farewell to Bishop Michael.”
Fr Lowcock said the support of as many as 27 bishops and 70 priests had been “a terrific boost to the diocese’s morale and no doubt the Church elsewhere”.
“It’s also been a great opportunity for the Church to give a really positive message through the media about a great Church leader,” he said.
Another positive was the bringing together of people who might normally only converse by phone or email, he said.
“As we speak, I am meeting with representatives from Townsville’s sister city Port Moresby,” he said.
“These include Port Moresby’s vicar general John Willio and chairman of the council of priests Michael Igo.
“We are discussing ways to keep our connection alive and thriving.”
Fr Lowcock said, in the aftermath of their farewell to such a dynamic leader, the diocese’s thoughts were inevitably turning to his replacement.
He said it was hoped Townsville’s new bishop would be appointed “as soon as possible” to maintain the momentum built in diocesan initiatives such as New Evangelisation by Bishop Putney.