MICHAEL McCarthy must feel like the luckiest Catholic in Australia today having stepped into the church's "jewel in the crown".
Father McCarthy was ordained as the 10th Bishop of the Rockhampton Diocese yesterday during a two-hour ceremony at a packed St Joseph's Cathedral.
For the first time the full colour and grandeur of the event, which was attended by five archbishops and 18 bishops from around the country, was televised.
Bishop McCarthy is looking forward to getting to know the people of the diocese.
"I'm coming into a great diocese; one that is well organised and alive, it's a bit like Rockhampton is the jewel in the crown," Bishop McCarthy said.
"I am excited about living here; there are beautiful streets, a lovely river, it's a great town.
"The cathedral is a wonderful building; it's preserved its beauty and reminds us that these are the gifts of God, gifts he has given us to create beauty.
"My key focus for the first three months is to visit every parish in the diocese and to visit our schools."
Speaking to The Morning Bulletin before his ordination, Bishop McCarthy said he felt privileged to have been chosen.
Pope Francis has the final say over the selection of bishops in the church.
"I'm a little bit overwhelmed," he said.
Bishop McCarthy, who moves to the region from Brisbane, said he had been busy preparing for the role.
"It's been a time of transition, part of it has been to finish up with my work in Brisbane as parish priest in Hendra," Bishop McCarthy said.
"Then I had a pre-ordination retreat near Melbourne for the spiritual side (of it) and then started turning my head towards the move to Rockhampton."
He's wasting no time in adjusting to the role and will make Barcaldine his first area to visit next week.
About Bishop McCarthy
- Born on September 15, 1950
- Obtained a Bachelor of Applied Science from the University of Southern Queensland
- He studied for the priesthood at St Paul's National Seminary, Sydney
- Ordained a priest for the Archdiocese of Brisbane on August 19, 1978