Thursday, July 06, 2006

A Tri-Jubilee Gift

For the first time "in living memory," an Australian Jesuit has been elevated to the episcopacy.

Buzz from Down Under hit the wires last night and was made official this morning when Fr Gregory O'Kelly, SJ, was named auxiliary bishop of Adelaide. There, he'll assist Archbishop Philip Wilson, whose workload increased recently on his election as president of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference.

The bishop-elect, who's served until now as Headmaster of St Ignatius College at Athelstone, is an Adelaide native who turns 65 next month. He entered the Society in 1959.

As this morning's Vatican release tells us, O'Kelly has spent "the major part of his religious life dedicated to the education apostolate in Australia." Headmaster of St Ignatius College at Riverview, two tours of duty at Athelstone, president of the Committee for Catholic Schools of Southern Australia and for two years President of the "Association of Heads of Independent Schools of Australia" -- an elected post which had never previously been held by a Catholic.

In 1994, Bishop-elect O'Kelly was inducted into the Order of Australia for services to education.