Pope Francis has last week appointed Fr Charles Gauci the seventh Bishop of Darwin.
Archbishop Mark Coleridge, President of Australian Catholic Bishops Conference, welcomed the appointment of a man who is known for his deep spirituality and commitment to evangelisation.
“Fr Charles has ministered to people from many walks of life – as a pastor in parishes, a chaplain to schools, a spiritual director and retreat leader,” Archbishop Coleridge said.
“He will be a great gift to the Church in Darwin with all its challenges and also a good addition to the Bishops Conference because of his long and varied experience as priest and teacher of the faith.”
The current administrator of St Francis Xavier’s Cathedral, Adelaide, was born into a faith-filled family in Malta and arrived in Australia at the age of 13.
He was ordained for Adelaide in 1977 and has served in parishes across the Archdiocese.
He has also held a number of archdiocesan leadership roles, one of which as chairman of the Council of Priests.
Fr Gauci said he was introduced to the life of the Diocese of Darwin and the faith of the community there when he was invited to lead a retreat for the priests of the Diocese about three years ago.
“I’m full of admiration for the work the priests in the Diocese carry out, often in very isolated areas where there are none of the comforts and conveniences of suburban life,” he said.
Fr Gauci said he hopes to visit the Diocese – which takes in almost all of the Northern Territory – as soon as possible so he can meet the local people and speak with Bishop Eugene Hurley, who has served in Darwin for the past 11 years and as a bishop for almost 20 years.
“Bishop Eugene is a great man; I’m humbled to succeed him. He will help me understand the Diocese, its communities and ministries. With that knowledge and discerning what God is asking of me, I will seek to fulfil the task now entrusted to me,” Fr Gauci said.
“I look forward to continuing to learn from all the people of God as their fellow traveller.”
In announcing Bishop-elect Gauci’s appointment, Pope Francis also accepted Bishop Hurley’s resignation.
Bishop Hurley will serve as Apostolic Administrator of the Diocese until Fr Gauci’s ordination, a date for which has yet to be confirmed.
“I believe Pope Francis has made an excellent choice in appointing Bishop-Elect
Gauci,” Bishop Hurley penned in a statement on 27 June.
“Fr Gauci has already spent time in this diocese from time to time, and so he comes with an affection for the diocese and the Territory. He understands the importance of being a part of the community and the need for collaboration.
“In speaking with Fr Gauci I know that one of his priorities will be to listen to, and walk with, our Aboriginal sisters and brothers.”