News from the Diocese


Catholic Diocese of Wollongong serving the people of God in the Illawarra, Macarthur, Shoalhaven and Southern Highlands regions of NSW
  • Easter Ceremony Times 2018
  • Bishop Emeritus Peter Ingham honoured at farewell dinner at The Cube


    On Monday 19 March 2018, Bishop Emeritus Peter Ingham was honoured in style at The Cube (located at Campbelltown Catholic Club) with over 500 guests in attendance from around the Diocese and Peter’s family and friends throughout Australia. One of the guests present, Sr Maria Casey RSJ (president of the Canon Law Society of Australia and New Zealand), said of the evening, “There was an atmosphere of joy and celebration in spite of it being a farewell. What happened there at the Cube was a wonderful example of what it is to be Church—a community, faith-filled, joyous, supportive, able to work and celebrate together.”  

    As guests entered The Cube—walking a red carpet flanked by large images from Peter’s life—Peter made sure he was there to shake the hand and welcome every single guest.

    Dean of St Francis Xavier Cathedral Wollongong, Fr Ron Peters, said grace; and guests were then treated to a beautiful three course meal prepared by celebrated Australian chef, Mr Peter Sheppard—director of culinary development at the Campbelltown Catholic Club.

    Several amazingly talented students from Mount Carmel Catholic College Varroville provided the pre-dinner and dinner music on the night, with acclaimed former Varroville student, Miss Chantelle Santos, performing a special solo rendition of Ave Maria.

    Former diocesan chancellor, Sr Moya Hanlen FDNSC, and current chair of the Diocesan Finance Council, Mr Kieran Biddle, delivered touching tribute speeches. Dame Kathleen McCormack AM presented Peter with a gift and cake to celebrate the wonderful contribution he has made as the bishop of Wollongong for the past 16 ½ years.

    Peter then responded with a humourous and heartfelt speech of his own. During the speech Peter said, “I am often asked if I am any relation to the Inghams of ‘Ingham’s Chickens’. In my first parish in Rosebery, I was talking to a group and the question popped up and I said, ‘If I was related to them, I would be driving something better than a Volkswagen Beetle!’ … Staying with the poultry context, in relation to my retirement, I’ve been joking that I have gone from being a rooster to a feather duster….  

    “Tonight, I am here to thank you all for the terrific support and affirmation of my style of ministry. I have been absolutely blown away at the various farewells around the Diocese. I still have a lot of very touching letters to answer amid packing up and preparing to move…. I tend to only look at my mistakes, at what I have done badly, and what I have failed to do. But, you have all given me a preview of what people might say at my funeral! I think I have done nothing extraordinary except to keep being there….

    “My motivation [as a bishop] came from a phrase in the New Testament in the Acts of the Apostles—a phrase that jumped out at me from the reading at Mass not long before I was nominated a bishop—‘They [Paul and Barnabas] put fresh heart into the disciples encouraging them to persevere in the faith’ (Acts 14:22). It is my fervent prayer that despite my own shortcomings, I have, by God’s grace, put some fresh heart into people and encouraged them to hang in there as Catholic Christians.”

    In true Peter style, he finished off his speech by focusing on his successor, the new bishop of Wollongong, Brian Mascord. He said, “So, Bishop Brian, what you see here tonight is a great cross-section of the potential and goodness our Diocese has to offer you. Can I say to you, the people of our Diocese, remember Bishop Brian has just been through a dislocating and painful experience in leaving a community he loved in Maitland-Newcastle and where he was well known and appreciated…. Let your new bishop be himself. What I mean is, Bishop Brian is not a replica of anyone else. Each of us is different and we see much further into the future when we stand on the shoulders of those who went before us.”

    One of Australia's most loved comedians, Mr Vince Sorrenti, was a brilliant master of ceremonies for the evening—bringing the house down in fits of laughter with his wonderful sense of humour.

    The night was topped off by a wonderful set performed by renowned Australian opera singer and local parishioner from Sydney, Mr Mark Vincent, and his band. Mark received a standing ovation for his encore performance of Nessun Dorma.

    One of the highlights of the evening was a surprise slideshow presentation of over 100 photos from Peter’s life.

    The Catholic Diocese of Wollongong acknowledges and thanks the following partners and donors for their enthusiastic support of this event: All Organs Australia Pty Ltd, Australian Catholic Superannuation & Retirement Fund, Campbelltown Catholic Club, Catholic Church Insurances, Catholic Development Fund Wollongong, Catholic Super, CEnet, Clearsafe Environmental Solutions, H.Parsons Funeral Directors, Harvest Journeys, Invocare trading as Guardian Funerals and Hansen & Cole Funerals, JDH Architects, KPMG, Makinson d’Apice Lawyers, McDonald's Macarthur and Illawarra, Michelle Roffe Funerals, Primavera Flowers, Remac Fire Safety, Rydges Campbelltown, Steve Watt Constructions, St Francis Xavier Cathedral Parish, FAL Constructions, Figtree Cleaning, Paul and Margaret Wakeling, Pro Sound and Lighting, St Mary Star of the Sea College Wollongong and Stuart Barnes Venues and Events.

  • Most Rev Brian Mascord ordained as the fifth Bishop of Wollongong


    “For all things give thanks” (1 Thess 5:18).

    In one of the largest Catholic episcopal ordinations in Australian history, a “full-house” of some 4,500 guests, including the Apostolic Nuncio in Australia, His Excellency Most Reverend Adolfo Tito Yllana, witnessed the ordination of Most Rev Brian Mascord as the fifth Bishop of Wollongong at the WIN Entertainment Centre in Wollongong on Thursday 22 February 2018.

    Livestreamed to a national and global audience, the principal consecrator, Archbishop Anthony Fisher OP (Archbishop of Sydney) and co-consecrators, Bishop Peter Ingham (now Bishop Emeritus of the Diocese of Wollongong) and Bishop William Wright (Bishop of Maitland-Newcastle Diocese), presided over the Mass of Ordination for the new Bishop Mascord.

    They were joined by 34 Australian bishops and 113 priests concelebrating the Mass; parishioners and families from all the diocesan parishes; principals, staff and students from more than 40 Diocesan Catholic schools; staff and families from diocesan agencies and affiliated organisations; leaders of other churches and faiths; civic leaders in government and business, along with over 700 of Bishop Brian’s family, friends, parishioners and community members from the Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle where he has ministered since being ordained to the priesthood in 1992. In a heartfelt message to his beloved and very proud parents, Ron and Margaret, who were present to share in this experience with him, he thanked them for “being who they are and that God had revealed his faithfulness through the gift of their love for him.”

    Bishop Masord said, “Life can throw up many challenges—ones that can, at times, seem almost insurmountable. When the Apostolic Nuncio rang me at the end of November with the invitation from the Holy Father, Pope Francis, to be the bishop of Wollongong, it all seemed totally insurmountable. But, here I am—overwhelmed, nervous, yet open to what the Lord has in store for me and for all of us. I am very conscious of the incredible trust that Pope Francis now places in me.”

    Bishop Mascord said, “I look forward to living and working with you as together we continue to build up the presence of the Kingdom of God in this area of the vineyard.”

    The new bishop has adopted the motto, “For all things give thanks,” from 1 Thessalonians 5:18.

    In his homily for the ordination, Archbishop Fisher, quoting St Augustine, said, “If as a bishop I feel tossed about in the open sea, as a Christian I find myself in safe harbour. Now Bishop Brian will have the benefit of many safe harbours of the Illawarra and Shoalhaven!”

    Archbishop Fisher said, “We look to our Bishop-elect to be a good man and a good Christian before all else, to model for us faith, hope, charity and the other virtues. Happily, on his own account, Brian has been surrounded from childhood by ‘tremendous’ people such as his grandmother and beloved parents who’ve shown him how to recognise and respond to God in everyday life, expressing faith practically in service.”

    Archbishop Fisher later said, “Like Francis of Assisi, we are called to rebuild the Church. That will require a teacher’s head, a spouse’s heart, and a shepherd’s soul, as your new vestments tell. But the most important thing you will wear from tonight is the cross of Jesus Christ upon your heart.

    “A few weeks before you were named bishop, I met you at the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem as you led a pilgrim group in the footsteps of Jesus. You were deeply moved, as I was, to celebrate Mass upon the very slab on which the dead Christ lay and from which he rose for our salvation. Even as your lifelong pilgrimage brings you now to Wollongong, you must in a sense keep your heart fixed on that sepulchre. For in the end, the Church is not built by the faithful, the clergy, even the successors of the apostles. No, it is Christ who builds the Church and his Church, not ours, that is rebuilt day-by-day. In it we join Peter in professing of him: “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God!” (Matthew 16:16)

    In acknowledging the retiring Bishop Peter Ingham, Archbishop Fisher said, " Tonight the Chair of Peter becomes the Chair of Brian—in Wollongong at least—and I pay tribute to Bishop Peter Ingham for his faithful service as Bishop here for the past 16 ½ years. A good few in this region have been confirmed by him. Some more love him from his regular presence in parishes, schools and agencies. Others have been taught or led by him. And many have laughed at his ‘Dad jokes’.”

    The Diocese of Wollongong takes in the geographical areas of the Illawarra, Macarthur, Shoalhaven and the Southern Highlands and is home to some 200,000 baptised Catholics. It is the first ordination of a bishop in the Diocese of Wollongong for some 22 years (Bishop Peter Ingham was already a bishop when he was installed as the fourth Bishop of Wollongong more than 16 years ago in 2001).



  • GIVING UP AND TAKING UP | Bishop-elect Brian Mascord's Lenten Message 2018

    Bishop-elect Brian Mascord's Lenten Message 2018 from Catholic Diocese of Wollongong on Vimeo.


     Many of us have childhood memories of Lent. For me, it was always about what I was going to be giving up, whether it would be lollies or ice cream or some other important treat that I was used to. If you were the older sibling, perhaps your “Lenten offering” was giving up being mean to an annoying younger brother or sister, or even leaving the last portion of a dessert for someone else. In my family, my parents were very practical about this time of the Church’s calendar. Yes, there was the giving up, the penance of Lent, but they saw this time as also being an opportunity to take something up, a challenge, so to speak—perhaps some radical form of kindness or deliberately going above and beyond in service to each other in the family. This is something I have tried to continue doing during my life, and I have also encouraged my parishioners to do the same. 

    As I soon begin this new phase of my life as your bishop, I think it is rather fitting that I begin the journey with you during Lent. What, then, am I giving up? Well, that is simple—the security and the familiarity of everything that I have known throughout my life. Certainly, when God called me to the priesthood, it was a call to walk with and shepherd the people of God. But, I never imagined that it would be as a bishop. 

    Now, what am I taking up? A continued openness to God’s call and the newness of what that involves. We never decide when or where God calls, only how we respond to that call. 


     At all times, the call of God is a radical one, to a new closeness with the God who loves us. For me, as the title of this year’s diocesan Lenten program says, it really is a “surrender”—a turning over to God, allowing God to be near and, ultimately, allowing him to work through me in this new journey to which he has called us. 

    There are many images that come to mind during Lent—images of the desert, solitude, fasting and prayer. But, there is also the invitation to go with Jesus. A few weeks ago, on the Second Sunday of Ordinary Time, we heard the disciples of John the Baptist ask Jesus a simple question, “Rabbi, where do you live?” (John 1:38). The response of Jesus was very simple, “Come and see” (John 1:39). Where does Jesus live in your life? Where does he dwell? At the centre? Somewhere off to the side? Perhaps we haven’t even thought about these questions for a while. The invitation of Jesus is important because we do not do this journey alone. Jesus comes with us. In today’s Gospel, the leper—the outcast, the one to be avoided—comes to Jesus for healing and, almost like a child, he simply says, “If you want to, you can heal me” (Mark 1:40). He takes nothing for granted. And Jesus responds with those beautiful words, “Of course I want to!” (Mark 1:41). You can almost imagine the smile that was on Jesus’ face. 

    It might all sound a little naïve and simplistic, but that’s what discipleship in Christ is all about. We invite Jesus closer and Jesus says, “Yes!” Jesus calls us out further into the deep and we respond, “Yes!” Whilst I will probably never completely let go of where I have come from, nor would I want to, because the gifts of so many people from there have formed me and come with me, I will certainly take up my new life here in Wollongong knowing that Jesus walks with me and with us. And, I pray for the grace to continue to respond with those words, “Yes! I want to.” 

    In December 2017, the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, released its report with many recommendations. Firstly, like Bishop Peter, I would like to recognise and express my gratitude to all those who came forward and courageously spoke their truth to the Royal Commission. They have given the Church a significant opportunity to reflect on how we are called to be the face of God in our world today. They have been the voice of the Spirit challenging us to be real and authentic in who we are as God’s people. Whilst it has been a difficult time for all, nothing compares to the courage of victims and survivors in coming forth and speaking truth—a truth that calls for action on the part of everyone. 

    The recommendations of the Royal Commission call for change. Some of these changes have already occurred, or are under way, and we will continue to strive to be places of safety and security for our children and vulnerable people. 

    So, what are we, as the Church, giving up for this period and beyond? I believe it should be that which no longer gives life to us as God’s people, and that which no longer brings healing and comfort to others. We need to be about healing, for that is what Jesus was about. He called people back to the experience of life in God. He challenged the misguided approach of the authorities of his time and he called them to rethink their approaches, just as we are being challenged to look at our approaches. He offered healing on many different levels, and we, too, must do the same. Sometimes our attempts will not go so well. 

    But, as followers of Jesus, we are called to keep going, to keep trying to be the healing face of Christ to others. 

    This process is not something that should finish with this year’s Lenten journey. The journey of Lent, the journey of Christmas, the journey of Easter and the journey of Ordinary Time are not just periods in the Church’s year. They are our life’s journey, for they are the Paschal mystery— that is, the life, death and Resurrection of Jesus. Let us hear the invitation that we are being offered and let us give thanks for the invitation that we have been given. 

    I have taken as my motto, “For all things give thanks,” from St Paul’s first letter to the Thessalonians (5:18). I do give thanks. I especially give thanks for the 16 years of faithful leadership given to the Diocese by Bishop Peter Ingham. Let us also be thankful for this time of change and possibility in our Church where we have the opportunity to again look at who we are and what we can be as we take up these opportunities that are being given to us as a faith-filled people. It won’t be easy, but we don’t do it alone. God walks with us and empowers us to be a sign of healing and hope in the world. As we begin our Lenten journey, let us hear the invitation of Jesus to “come and see”, and in doing so, let us surrender to the love of God present to us and to those we love. Let us ask Jesus to come close and let us hear him say to us those important words, “Of course I want to!” 

    I look forward to meeting many of you at my Ordination on the 22nd of February, and I wish you every blessing as we begin our life together and continue to build the kingdom of God present in the Diocese of Wollongong. 

    I wish you a blessed Lent. May it be a time of growth and love.

    Yours in Christ 


    Most Rev Brian G Mascord
    Bishop-elect of Wollongong 
    11 FEBRUARY 2018 

  • POSITION VACANT | Catholic Chaplain – University of Wollongong (UOW)

    The Office of the Bishop is seeking to contract until December 2018, a part-time Chaplain 24.5 hours per week (3½ days) to connect with Catholic students and staff, organise the work and activities of the Catholic Society, promote opportunities for participation in the life of the Church, minister to spiritual and pastoral needs and ensure vibrant, relevant, consistent campus ministry through access to formation, prayer, retreats, sacraments and social justice initiatives.

    Applications must include a resume outlining qualifications, skills and experience and outlining your personal commitment to the ethos and values of the Catholic Church. The names and contact details of at least two (2) referees should be provided.

    Click here to download the position description

    Applications should be addressed to

    Mr Jude Hennessy
    Director Office of Renewal and Evangelisation

    Office of the Bishop
    PO Box 1239
    Wollongong NSW 2500

    or emailed to jude [DOT] hennessy [AT] dow [DOT] org [DOT] au

    Any enquiries should be directed to Mr Jude Hennessy 02 4222 2407

    Applications close Friday 23 February 2018

  • Partner opportunities - Ordination of Bishop-elect Brian Mascord and the Farewell dinner to Bishop Peter Ingham

    Opportunities are available for you or your business to support the staging of these significant events. 

    Click here if you would like to find out how.

  • Surrender Now: A Lenten Concert | Sunday 11 March 2018

  • Australia Day honour for humble Dapto priest


    Fr Francis Tran, parish priest at St John the Evangelist Catholic Parish Dapto, was today awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) for service to the Catholic Church in Australia and the community.

    Fr Francis said his receipt of the Australia Day honour is something that took him “completely by surprise”, but for the various communities he has served, this award is a just recognition for an amazing life of humble service dedicated to the formation of nurturing communities.

    Fr Francis has had a tremendous impact on numerous parishes and communities in the Catholic Diocese of Wollongong, having spent time in Nowra, Fairy Meadow, Wollongong, Mittagong, Moss Vale, Vincentia, Milton-Ulladulla, Helensburgh and Dapto throughout his 22 years as a priest.

    Bishop Peter Ingham describes Fr Francis as a much-loved priest who never tires of working to build community. “The Office of the Bishop has received an unprecedented number of letters of commendation from members of the parish and school communities where Fr Francis has ministered over the years, and I have seen first-hand the way Fr Francis builds up and truly loves the people he serves,” Bishop Peter said.

    When asked why he was so surprised by his receipt of the Australia Day honour, Fr Francis said, “Because I live a very simple life. I am a normal human being. I never do big things. I just live a normal life amongst the community as a working man.”

    Fleeing Communist Vietnam at a time of serious persecution for members of the Church, he came by boat to Australia in 1987 and was welcomed to the hostel in Villawood for refugees (now Villawood Immigration Detention Centre). Fr Francis said, “I worked in factories and farms for nearly three years doing manual labour—two jobs a day, working and working. I felt called to be a priest, but I had no English, so I stopped working and studied English for six months at Liverpool TAFE. It was hard. It had been many years since I had been to school. But I learnt it, entered the seminary and was ordained in 1995 at Fairy Meadow.”

    Even before joining the seminary, Fr Francis had a strong desire to learn and adapt as he tried to embrace his new home. “I read a lot about Australian history. If you don’t know the history, you don’t know the people. I always heard Australians say, ‘You can take the boy out of the village, but you can’t take the village out of the boy.’ That’s true in many ways, but it was important to me to become very involved with the Australian Community—learning and growing—so I could serve people and build up communities where people feel like they belong.”


    Parishioners attest to Fr Francis as being a man who rolls-up his sleeves and gets his hands dirty, especially on projects that bring people together. Fr Francis is dedicated to building facilities that allow people to come together. Working alongside parishioners, he has become quite a “handyman”, building pergolas, gardens, fish ponds, barbeque areas and spaces for hospitality and welcome. “I want the parish and my house to be a place where people of all ages can come together, and they do in big numbers,” Fr Francis said.

    It is this desire to bring people together in genuine friendship that was central to his OAM recognition. Fr Francis describes himself as “humbled by the award” but he accepted it as something that recognises the way he lives his life. Fr Francis said, “I love the community. In whatever I do I think of the community. Even if I’m mentally and physically tired, I keep on working as I want to offer the community something and make people feel they belong and that they have a brighter tomorrow.

    “In Australian culture today, it is very easy for people to become isolated and disconnected. In my role here, I’m trying to get it back the old way of life—a community life. I want people to know each other, to be friendly with each other, to see the value of family, and so I try to create spaces and opportunities to bring people together—a cup of coffee after Mass, dinners here, sports nights, gathering for celebrations, watching footy together. I want people to know and love each other. Worshipping God in the Church will not make sense if we don’t have a true sense of community and of belonging.”

    It is Fr Francis’ ordinariness that has seen him able to build such vibrant communities through his actions and in the way he preaches. Daniel, a parishioner from Helensburgh said, “I remember his first homily at our parish. He said, ‘I don’t have much up here [pointing to his head], but I have broad shoulders.’ In that moment, he won everyone over.”

    Fr Francis said, “My priority for the community is to create a good, healthy, happy community that people will bring God into their presence. I try to share my faith in Jesus by being like Jesus. He loves everybody and he sees the value of every single person—good or bad alike. I am, as a priest, a representative of Jesus in the community, and I am called to do exactly what he did—to be his hands and feet. I am not a perfect person, but I try the best I can. I see myself as just one member of the community. I am there to talk to people as a friend. I meet people as a friend, I try to bring them into the community and to help that community be a family who know God’s love.”

    In receiving the award, Fr Francis reflected that while his life had not always been easy, he was full of gratitude for so many things. “God has given me time, talent and opportunity to make my life useful for people. I’m grateful to the Church for my faith and the opportunity to serve others. I feel so grateful to be accepted by this country which has adopted me. I know the life of the Gospel is what I have to live. It’s not about how I preach, but how I live and act. It’s about giving your all for others like Jesus did. That’s how life becomes meaningful.”

    The chancellor of the Diocese of Wollongong, Mr William Walker, described Fr Francis as, “A truly humble man of the people, an example for many to follow and the award as a just recognition for Fr Francis’ outstanding and meritorious service to the Church and wider community.”

  • POSITION VACANT | Professional Standards and Training Officer

    The Office of the Bishop is seeking to appoint a full-time Professional Standards and Training Officer in relation to children and vulnerable adults to work closely with senior personnel in the Safeguarding Team. The position will focus on taking a lead in the development, design and delivery of training consistent with diocesan policy and standards, whilst also managing cases and giving advice.

    Applications must include a resume outlining qualifications, skills and experience, and outlining your personal commitment to the ethos and values of the Catholic Church. The names and contact details of at least two referees should be provided.

    Click here to download the position description


    Applications should be addressed to:

    Diocesan Executive Officer
    Office of the Bishop
    PO Box 1239
    Wollongong NSW 2500

    or emailed to mary [DOT] hiscox [AT] dow [DOT] org [DOT] au. 

    Any enquiries should be directed to Mary Hiscox 02 4222 2468

    Applications close Monday 19 February 2018

  • Ordination of Bishop-elect Brian Mascord | Thursday 22 February 2018

    Date: Thursday 22 February 2018
    Time: 7:00pm
    Venue: WIN Entertainment Centre, Wollongong (Corner of Harbour and Crown Streets)
    Attendance: 4,500 (also streamed live globally - the link will be provided on this page closer to the date)


    RSVP's have now closed and the ordination will be a full house.

    The Catholic Diocese of Wollongong has announced that at 7pm on Thursday 22 February 2018, Bishop-elect Brian Mascord will be ordained as the fifth bishop of Wollongong at the WIN Entertainment Centre in the presence of up to 4,500 people including the papal nuncio in Australia, His Excellency Most Reverend Adolfo Tito Yllana.

    The diocesan organising committee—which includes clergy, staff and lay people such as the former general manager of the WIN Sports and Entertainment Centres, Mr Stuart Barnes—has been busily planning the event since Pope Francis announced Fr Brian as the Bishop-elect on 30 November 2017. Under Canon Law, the new bishop is required to be ordained within three months of the announcement.

    The Diocese of Wollongong takes in the geographical areas of the Illawarra, Macarthur, Shoalhaven and the Southern Highlands. The ordination is expected to be celebrated by up to 30 Australian bishops, 100 clergy, parishioners and families from all the diocesan parishes and schools, staff and families from all diocesan agencies and affiliated organisations, leaders of other churches and faiths, civic leaders of government and business, and last but not least, bus-loads of Bishop-elect Brian’s family, friends, parishioners and community members from the Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle—where he currently resides. The ordination will also be streamed live globally.

    Archbishop Anthony Fisher OP (Archbishop of Sydney) will be the principal consecrator, with the co-consecrators being Bishop Peter Ingham (Apostolic Administrator of the Diocese of Wollongong) and Bishop William Wright (Bishop of Newcastle-Maitland).

    It will be the first ordination of a bishop in the Diocese of Wollongong for some 22 years (Bishop Peter Ingham was already an auxiliary bishop when he was installed as the fourth bishop of Wollongong 16 years ago.) When asked about how the WIN Entertainment Centre will look on the evening, Stuart Barnes said, “The huge number of expected attendees means that it cannot be held at St Francis Xavier Cathedral in Wollongong, which can only seat 550 people. So, if we can’t take the people to the Cathedral, we are going to take the Cathedral to the people! The stained glass windows and two large icons that form the backdrop of the Cathedral will be recreated as giant banners at the WIN Entertainment Centre.

    “The music is also expected to be spectacular on the night. Our diocesan band will be accompanied by the St Mary Star of the Sea College orchestra and a 50-strong diocesan choir. It’s definitely going to be a night to remember."

    For more information about the ordination, please download the Diocese's Frequently Asked Questions document.