Roman Catholic Diocese of Wollongong
|Diocese of Wollongong
|Territory||Illawarra and Southern Highlands regions of New South Wales|
|Metropolitan||Archdiocese of Sydney|
|Area||6,121 km2 (2,363 sq mi)|
|(as of 2004)
195,669 ( 30.2%)
|Established||15 November 1951|
|Cathedral||St Francis Xavier's Cathedral, Wollongong|
|Patron saint||Immaculate Heart of Mary|
|Metropolitan Archbishop||Anthony Fisher OP|
|Emeritus Bishops||William Edward Murray|
|Catholic Diocese of Wollongong|
The Roman Catholic Diocese of Wollongong is a suffragan Latin Rite diocese of the Archdiocese of Sydney, established in 1951, covering the Illawarra and Southern Highlands regions of New South Wales, Australia.
On 15 November 1951, Pope Pius XII announced that a new diocese would be created from the two archdioceses of Sydney and Canberra & Goulburn. To be named Wollongong, the diocese was officially established on 11 February 1952. Bishop Thomas McCabe was transferred from Port Pirie to become its first bishop and the historic Church of St Francis Xavier in Wollongong became the cathedral. At the time of establishment, there was a Catholic population of approximately 22,000 in 18 parishes.
While the Wollongong diocese is relatively recent, the churches of Campbelltown (1835), Appin (1837), Wollongong (1838), Picton (1847), Kiama (1852), Camden (1859), Shellharbour (1861), Nowra (1863), The Oaks (1865), Albion Park (1867), Bulli (1886), Berrima (1889) and Milton-Ulladulla (1890) trace their Catholic legacy back to the early times of European settlement and to the era of Archbishop John Bede Polding, Australia's first bishop.
Initially, the diocese was composed of parishes in the Illawarra, Shoalhaven and Southern Highland regions. In 1954 it was expanded to include Camden and Campbelltown and in 1975 the parishes of Batemans Bay, Moruya and Narooma reverted to the Archdiocese of Canberra & Goulburn. The boundaries of the diocese have since remained the same. The most recently established parish is Rosemeadow (1994), which incorporates the church in Appin, the oldest continuously used Catholic church on the Australian mainland.
Bishops of Wollongong
The following individuals have been elected as Bishop of Wollongong:
Order Name Date enthroned Reign ended Term of office Reason for term end 1 Thomas Absolem McCabe 15 November 1951 10 May 1974 22 years, 176 days Resigned and appointed Bishop Emeritus of Wollongong 2 William Edward Murray 5 June 1975 12 April 1996 20 years, 312 days Retired and appointed Bishop Emeritus of Wollongong 3 Philip Wilson 12 April 1996 30 November 2000 4 years, 232 days Elevated to Archbishop of Adelaide 4 Peter Ingham 6 June 2001 present 15 years, 85 days n/a
- Illawarra deanery with regular liturgical services held in the parishes of Albion Park (St Paul), Fairy Meadow (St John Vianney Co-Cathedral), Gwynneville (St Brigid), Unanderra (Immaculate Conception), Warrawong (St Francis of Assisi), West Wollongong (St Therese), and Wollongong (St Francis Xavier)
- Macarthur deanery with regular liturgical services held in the parishes of Camden (St Paul), Campbelltown (St John the Evangelist), Eagle Vale (Mary Immaculate), Ingleburn (Holy Family), Macquarie Fields (Mary, Mother of the Church), Picton (St Anthony), Rosemeadow (Our Lady Help of Christians), Ruse (St Thomas More), The Oaks (St Aloysius Parish), and Varroville (Our Lady of Mount Carmel)
- South Coast deanery with regular liturgical services held in the parishes of Kangaroo Valley (St Joseph), Kiama (Ss Peter and Paul), Milton (St Mary Star of the Sea), Nowra (St Michael), and Vincentia (Holy Spirit)
- Southern Highlands deanery with regular liturgical services held in the parishes of Bowral (St Thomas Aquinas), Mittagong (St Michael), Moss Vale (St Paul) and Penrose Park (Shrine of Our Lady of Mercy)
The diocese is the eighth largest diocese in Australia in terms of Catholic population (out of 33 total) and the largest non-capital city diocese. The diocese now ministers to 195,000 Catholics in 31 parishes, with 15 migrant chaplaincies. There are 43 Catholic schools, various youth ministries and a range of aged care, disability and welfare services together with special faith movements in the local area.