A CROWD of 1600 witnessed the ordination of the ninth Bishop of Sale Pat O’Regan on Thursday 26 February 2015.
The Bishop Phelan Stadium at Catholic College Sale was transformed over three days to create a suitable venue for the ceremony.
Nearby, St Mary’s Cathedral seats only 280 comfortably in the main body of the church and so it was decided to relocate the ceremony.
There was a strong attendance of parishioners from Bathurst where Bishop O’Regan was previously vicar-general and Dean of the Cathedral.
Principal celebrant was Archbishop of Melbourne Denis Hart and co-consecrators were the Archbishop of Canberra and Goulburn Christopher Prowse, who is the previous Bishop of Sale, and Bishop of Bathurst Michael McKenna, formerly a priest of Sale Diocese.
Thirty bishops and archbishops and more than 100 priests from around Australia gathered for the event.
With a 160 voice choir drawn from colleges and parishes around the diocese led the worship under the director of music from Lavalla College, Traralgon Shane Reid.
Organists were Anthony Halliday from St Francis Church, Melbourne, and Fr Alois Balint from Offenburg , Germany.
Bishop O’Regan was assisted by Fr Terrence Fournier who is the director of the National Liturgical Office for the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops, and Fr Garry McKeown from Bathurst Diocese.
Mgr John Kallarackal from the Apostolic Nunciature in Canberra read the English translation of the Papal Bull appointing Bishop O’Regan and the Bull was then formally shown by Sale Diocese Chancellor Fr Brian O’Connor to the College of Consultors. There was loud applause from all gathered when he raised it to the congregation.
After the formal questioning by Archbishop Hart, Bishop O’Regan lay prostrate on the red carpet before the altar during the singing of the Litany of the Saints led by cantors Lynda George and Donrita Reefman.
The consecration of the bishop followed with laying on of hands of all gathered bishops and archbishops, who in turn placed their hands on his head.
The open Book of Gospels was held over Bishop O’Regan’s head by deacons Mark Kelly and Tony Aspinall, while Archbishop Hart read the prayer of ordination.
Following the anointing of Bishop O’Regan’s head with the oil of chrism and presentation of the Book of Gospels, the bishop then received his ring of office from the Vechoorettu family from Cranbourne, his zucchetto and mitre from Sr Patricia Hickey sgs, and the bishop’s crozier was from Rita Elswyk who is diocesan coordinator of the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults.
Bishop O’Regan was then led to the cathedra, or bishop’s chair, which had been brought from St Mary’s Cathedral for the ceremony.
The newly ordained bishop received a fraternal kiss from each of the bishops and archbishops.
The Bishop’s siblings Stephen O’Regan, Laurie O’Regan and Louise Clyne, accompanied by his godparents Jill Clark and Peter Herbert brought the gifts to the altar for the Mass.
In the concluding rites after the Mass Bishop O’Regan walked around the stadium blessing the crowd, received formal welcome from the clergy, religious, representatives of diocesan ministries, Catholic schools and ecumenical and civic representatives.
More than 1,000 people walked to Memorial Hall for lunch and light refreshments after the ordination.
When Bishop O’Regan arrived he spent more than an hour chatting with people and happily posed for photographs.