BALLARAT’S new bishop, Paul Bird, was welcomed with a standing ovation and rapturous applause during his ordination at St Patrick’s Cathedral yesterday.
More than 500 people packed into the cathedral, with another 150 watching live on a big screen in the adjoining hall.
Thirty bishops and 100 priests from across Australia were involved in the ordination ceremony, including retiring Bishop Peter Connors, who handed the crosier to his successor.
Bishop Bird was ordained by Melbourne Archbishop Denis Hart before addressing the crowd.
He told them his prayer was “that each person in our troubled world can find and know peace in their heart”. He also thanked Bishop Connors for his 15 years of service.
Following tradition, a guard of honour was formed outside the cathedral for Ballarat’s new bishop to walk through.
Prior to his ordination, Father Bird told The Courier that his motto, in keeping with Catholic tradition, was “peace be with you”.
“It’s not easy to find peace of heart, let alone peach within your relationships,” he said.
“I hope that whatever I do will promote that for people, personally and for the communities I serve.”