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Bishop Michael McKenna

Michael Joseph McKenna was ordained and installed as the eighth Bishop of Bathurst on 26 June 2009 by His Eminence George Cardinal Pell; Emeritus Bishop, the Most Rev Patrick Dougherty (Bathurst); and Emeritus Bishop, the Most Rev Jeremiah Coffey (Sale, Victoria). He was the first Bishop of Bathurst in 89 years to be ordained within the Diocese. At the time of his appointment to Bathurst, he was Chaplain to the University of Melbourne and Administrator of All Saints’ Parish in Fitzroy, Victoria.

Bishop Michael was originally a priest of the Diocese of Sale and held various positions from his ordination in 1983, including as Rector of Corpus Christi College in Melbourne and two terms as Secretary General of the Australian Catholic Bishops’ Conference.

Bishop Michael is the Chair of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference’s Commission for Christian Unity and Inter-Religious Relations. On 19 May 2020, Pope Francis appointed Bishop McKenna to the Pontifical Council for Inter-Religious Dialogue. In 2021 the Bishop was appointed to the International Anglican-Roman Catholic Commission for Unity and Mission and in 2022 was appointed as a member of the ACBC’s Episcopal Panel for Canon Law.

The Bishop’s motto is ‘Legato Con Amore’ (Bound with Love).

Crest and motto


Bishop McKenna’s motto comes from the final canto of the great medieval poem, La Commedia (the Divine Comedy), by Dante Alighieri 1265-1321. The poet imagined a tour of hell, purgatory and heaven. His ultimate vision of the heavenly light is a vision of love. It is the love of God, bringing order out of chaos.

Nel suo profondo vidi che s’interna
legato con amore in un volume
ciò che per l’universo si squaderna

(In its depths I saw gathered, bound with love in one book, the scattered pages of the universe)

It echoes a beautiful image of the Church from St Augustine of Hippo (354-430):

“(Christians) do not make a house of God unless they are cemented together by love. If those beams of wood and those stones of the church were not joined to one another in a definite pattern, if they were not peacefully intertwined, if they did not by mutual attachment in a certain sense ‘love’ one another, no-one would dare to put a foot inside… Our Lord Jesus Christ, wishing to enter and dwell in us, used to say, as though by way of a building, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another”.

The design of the crest returns to an earlier tradition, where the Cross is not behind, but in front of the shield. The motto is stretched across like Christ’s arms in his reconciling sacrifice of love. The star at the foot of the Cross represents Mary, who stands there as the Mother of the Redeemer and Mother of the Church. The golden field of the shield represents the Diocese of Bathurst.

mckenna crest

Messages and Pastoral Letters

Messages and pastoral letters from the Bishop can be read here.