The Holy Father Pope Francis has named Father Brian Mascord as the fifth Bishop of Wollongong overnight.
Fr Mascord is presently the vicar-general of the Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle and replaces Bishop Peter Ingham who submitted his resignation on his 75th birthday almost two years ago.
Australian Catholic Bishops Conference president Archbishop Denis Hart said Bishop-Elect Mascord brings a wealth of experience in parish ministry, education, chaplaincy and governance.
“Fr Mascord has been a fine, hard-working parish priest for many years and will be a worthy Bishop of Wollongong. I congratulate him on his appointment on behalf of the Australian bishops,” Archbishop Hart said.
“I also wish to acknowledge Bishop Peter Ingham, who is in his 25th year as a bishop and has spent the last 16 years as shepherd to the faithful in Wollongong. Bishop Ingham has been a source of energy and joy and holiness for his people, his priests and his brother bishops.”
Bishop-Elect Mascord said priests who have spent time with Bishop Ingham have often sought to emulate his approach.
“I look up to Bishop Ingham as a pastoral priest and a pastoral bishop, and the example he gives in his ministry and life as priest and bishop is something I’ve admired,” he said.
“I hope and pray that I will be able to continue with his example, build on what he has done in the Diocese and what he has achieved for the Diocese.”
Bishop-Elect Mascord said he will come to a Church with which he is familiar, with the Wollongong Diocese taking in cities, towns and country areas, as Maitland-Newcastle does.
“I look forward to encountering people who have that ‘down-to-earthness’ that comes with the diversity of the people who live in coastal, city and rural areas,” he said.
“As Bishop-Elect of Wollongong, meeting the people of the Diocese, getting to know them and sharing in their faith journey is my first priority. That process will begin next week.”
Bishop-Elect Mascord was born and raised in Newcastle.
After being educated in Catholic schools, he gained a diploma of teaching at the Catholic College of Education in Castle Hill, spending six years teaching in a Catholic primary school.
He later continued his studies at St Patrick’s College in Manly and was ordained for the Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle in 1992, where he has spent his entire priestly ministry.
In addition to parish appointments across many parts of the Diocese, Bishop-Elect Mascord has served as vocations director since 2007 and has been Vicar General since 2012.
He has been a long-standing member of the Council of Priests and is currently a member of the diocesan Clergy Life and Ministry Team and the National Council for Clergy Life and Ministry.
In announcing Bishop-Elect Mascord’s appointment, Pope Francis also accepted Bishop Ingham’s resignation.
Bishop Ingham will serve as Apostolic Administrator of the Diocese of Wollongong until Bishop-Elect Mascord’s Episcopal Ordination.
A date for the Ordination is yet to be confirmed.
Bishop Ingham welcomed the announcement of his successor by Pope Francis
“Bishop-elect Brian Mascord—current Vicar General of the Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle and also the parish priest of MacKillop (including Charlestown, Gateshead and Redhead)—comes with a great track record as a pastoral priest,” he said.
“I am delighted with Pope Francis’ choice of such a fine priest to lead the Diocese. I am looking forward to catching up with Bishop-elect Brian next week when he visits the Diocese. It has been the privilege of my life to have been entrusted with the stewardship of this Diocese for the past 16 years, and I shall certainly miss the interaction I have had with the wonderful people of this region. With the official nomination of Bishop-elect Brian, the Pope has appointed me as the Apostolic Administrator of the Diocese of Wollongong until the new Bishop is ordained and installed as the fifth Bishop of Wollongong. A suitable date for the ordination and installation has yet to be decided, but it will occur within the next three months.”
This story first appeared on the Illawarra Mercury.