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Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle www.mn.catholic.org.au
CONCERNED ABOUT ALCOHOL, DRUGS, GAMBLING OR PARENTING ISSUES?
"IHAVE SOMETHING to tell you which
will change your life."
In these words, the Papal Nuncio
Giuseppe Lazzarotto (the Vatican's man
Down Under), informed Father Paul Bird,
who grew up in Carrington, that he had
been appointed Bishop of Ballarat. Fr Paul
is a Redemptorist priest who has been
the leader of the Australian Redemptorists
On learning of his appointment, Fr Paul,
63, said, "I'm feeling excited but also
rather nervous. The nervousness comes
from the fact that this role will involve new
responsibilities and I'm not sure how I will
go in meeting the challenges involved. At
the same time, I'm excited at the prospect
of meeting the people of the diocese and
doing whatever I can to encourage them in
their faith and in their Christian lives."
With his siblings Anne, Josie and Maurice,
Fr Paul was educated by the Sisters of
St Joseph at St Francis Xavier's Primary
School, Carrington. Maurice and Paul
proceeded to Marist Brothers Hamilton
(now St Francis Xavier's College). Paul (and
also Maurice) was school captain and dux
at Marist Brothers, indications perhaps
of the gifts of intellect and leadership he
has continued to offer to the church and
Visiting Newcastle just after his
appointment was announced, Fr
Paul recalled that the founder of the
Redemptorists, St Alphonsus Liguori
(1696 -1787) was always upfront about
By TRACEY EDSTEIN
the demands of the life, telling enquirers
they needed to "be always ready to take
on whatever is difficult or demanding".
Reflecting on the somewhat daunting nature
of being a bishop today, he said it would
be his "opportunity to embrace what was
difficult and demanding", but that there
would be joy and satisfaction too.
"Over the years I have drawn much
inspiration from Christians of many
denominations and from people of other
faiths, as well as from those who profess no
particular faith but give generous service to
those in need. I'm sure I will be able to draw
continuing inspiration from such people all
through the Ballarat diocese."
Much of Fr Paul's life has been spent
preaching parish missions. For more than
20 years, among other responsibilities, he
was editor in chief at Majellan Publications,
Melbourne, before being elected Leader of
the Redemptorists in Australia, New Zealand,
the Philippines, Singapore and Malaysia.
Fr Paul was ordained to the priesthood
on 17 May 1975 at Corpus Christi Church.
Waratah. He will be ordained bishop on 16
October at St Patrick's Cathedral, Ballarat.
You may like to visit www.cssr.org.au to
learn more about the Redemptorists.
(l- r) Anne Morris, Bishop-elect Paul Bird and his niece Ellen Morris, taken on Fr Paul s recent visit to Newcastle.
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