Announcement on the future of Diocese of Wilcannia-Forbes

Catholic Diocese of Bathurst


12th January 2013

Bishop Michael McKenna has received news that the Congregation of Bishops in Rome has decided not to reconfigure the boundaries of the Diocese of Wilcannia-Forbes.

The Diocese of Wilcannia-Forbes covers about half of New South Wales. Last year, local bishops recommended that the area known as the ‘Western Deanery’ return to the Bathurst Diocese and that several parishes bordering the Diocese of Wagga Wagga be transferred to its care. They proposed that the remaining communities form the continuing Diocese of Wilcannia, with the Archbishop of Sydney taking responsibility for provision of clergy and administration.

The Congregation of Bishops has now judged that a new bishop should be appointed to Wilcannia-Forbes and that it would be up to him, in consultation with the people and priests of the Diocese, to make recommendations about the best way ahead.Diocese of Wilcannia-Forbes

Australian Catholic Bishops Conference
Media Release

12th February 2013

President of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference Archbishop Denis Hart today received a letter from Cardinal Marc Ouellet, Prefect of the Congregation of Bishops, regarding the future of the Diocese of Wilcannia-Forbes.

The Congregation has been considering various proposals relating to the Diocese including the possibility that some parishes might be attached to other neighbouring Dioceses.

The Congregation has recommended that the Diocese of Wilcannia-Forbes continue as a Diocese, and has advised that a Bishop will be appointed in due course.

In his letter, Cardinal Ouellet acknowledged the desire of the faithful of the Diocese to maintain the institutional identity of the Diocese, “which has its own respectable history and traditions.”

While there are significant challenges facing the territory including that of a diminishing population and fewer priests, Cardinal Ouellet has advised the determination of the future of the diocese will now be redirected along the way of canonical practice with the bishop and people of the diocese able together to carry things forward into the future.

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