- Published: Thursday, 14 May 2009 09:30
Within less than a month, the Holy See has appointed two alumni of the former St Paul’s National Seminary for Late Vocations to the Episcopate: Father Michael McKenna, appointed the Bishop of Bathurst on 15th April, and Monsignor Les Tomlinson, named Auxiliary to Archbishop Hart of Melbourne on 5th May. The two priests are the first graduates of St Paul’s to be elected bishops.
St Paul’s was established by the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart and the Australian Catholic bishops to provide a formation program more suited to mature candidates for the priesthood. The seminary was opened in 1968 in the grounds of the Sacred Heart Monastery, Kensington NSW. The founding Rector was Father E. James Cuskelly MSC and over the years the core staff continued to be MSC. For some 30 years St Paul’s was to be a major apostolic work of the Australian MSC Province.
The decline in numbers led to the closure of the seminary in 1998; 281 alumni had been ordained for dioceses in Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific as well as for the MSC and other religious institutes. Bishop-elect Tomlinson entered the seminary in the early years and was ordained for the Archdiocese of Melbourne in 1972. Bishop-elect McKenna was ordained for the Diocese of Sale in 1983.
We congratulate these men and wish them every blessing and encouragement in their new ministries.