During the four days from February 8 to 11, Bishop Mykola Bychok took part in a conference for new bishops in Canberra. The conference was attended by 7 new bishops: Bishop Mykola Bychok, Eparch of Melbourne, Bishop Shane MacKinley, Bishop of Sandhorst, Bishop Gregory Bennett, Bishop of Sale, Bishop Karol Kulczycki, Bishop of Port Pirie, Bishop Martin Ashe, Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Melbourne, Bishop Anthony Ireland, Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Melbourne and Bishop Daniel Meagher, Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Sydney.

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On the first day of the conference, February 8, the speakers were Bishop Christopher Prowse, Archbishop of Canberra on the topic, “Transitions into the life and ministry of a Bishop”, Bishop Gregory Homening, Bishop of Lismore on the topic “The identity and life of a Bishop”.The bishops had the opportunity to visit the Department for Military Ordinariate Chancery and get acquainted with the bishop’s ministry for the military. They also visited the General Office of the Australian Conference of Catholic Bishops get to know the various Episcopal Commissions and Departments.

On the second day of the conference, February 9, the speakers were Bishop Robert McGuckin and  Bishop Og, from Toowoomba, on the topic “Pastoral governance of the diocese”, and Dr. Ursula Stephens, CEO of the Australian Catholic Safeguarding Limited on the topic “Professional standards and safeguarding”. On this day the bishops had the opportunity to visit the Nunciature in Canberra and learn about their work and the ministry as representatives of the Holy Father in Australia.

On the third day of the conference, February 10, the speakers were Ms. Clara Geoghegan and Dr. Patrick McArdle on the topic “Synodality and co-responsibility in the Local Church”, Bishop Ken Howell, Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Brisbane on the topic “Liturgy for Bishops in the Ceremonial of Bishops”, and Dr. Megan Brock on the topic “Ministry to difficult people (clergy and laity)”. On this day, the bishops had the opportunity to get acquainted with the work of the Australian Catholic Migrant and Refugee Office.

On the last day of the conference, February 11, the bishops got acquainted with the Catholic Information Service and the reality in which people receive news. The speaker of the day was Mr. Gavin Abraham on the topic “Media training workshop”. Each day of the conference ended with the Holy Liturgy, where all the bishops were united in prayer and asked to be Good Shepherds in the image of Christ.

It is worth noting that the leading thought during the four days of the conference was the question, “Why did the Lord choose me to be a bishop in today’s world?”

After two years of pandemics and many lockdowns in Australia, it was a great time to be together, listen to each other’s experiences and pray together.

Let us pray for the ministry of all the newly appointed bishops and that their role and work will lead to the good for the whole Catholic Church.