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The New Archbishop of Perth is Announced

By: B Spinks Photo: Supplied

Auxiliary Bishop Timothy Costelloe SDB DD of Melbourne has been appointed by Pope Benedict XVI to succeed Archbishop Barry James Hickey as ninth Bishop of Perth and sixth Archbishop of Perth.

Pope Benedict XVI made the official announcement in Rome at noon today.

Archbishop Hickey endorsed the appointment and choice of Archbishop-designate Costelloe as his successor.

“We are delighted with the choice of Bishop Tim Costelloe to be the new Catholic Archbishop of Perth,” Archbishop Hickey said.

“He has my blessings on his daunting task, which is at one time a burden and a privilege,” he said.

Archbishop-designate Costelloe said he was very grateful to the Holy Father for showing such confidence in appointing him Archbishop of Perth.

He said he takes up the position “with a sense of gratitude and humility, and also a certain trepidation”.

Archbishop-designate Costelloe, who was ordained a Bishop in 2007, will lead the Catholic Church in the Perth Archdiocese after gaining several years’ experience serving the Church in the Archdiocese of Melbourne and as a member of the Salesians of Don Bosco.

Archbishop-designate Costelloe is no stranger to Perth.

He spent four years in the mid to late nineties based as parish priest at St Joachim’s in Victoria Park and as religious superior of the Salesian community based in Victoria Park and Kelmscott.

While based in Perth, the then Fr Costelloe was also lecturing in systematic theology at the University of Notre Dame in Fremantle.

He accompanied Archbishop Hickey to the Synod of Oceania in 1998 as one of Archbishop Hickey’s two theological experts.

Archbishop-designate Costelloe will officially take possession of the Archdiocese on 21 March 2012 during a Solemn Mass and Liturgical Reception in St Mary’s Cathedral, Perth.

This news of a successor comes after a 10-month wait for Archbishop Hickey who handed in his letter of resignation following Church protocol on the occasion of his 75th birthday in April last year.

The Pope accepted this letter ‘nunc pro tunc’ (Latin: now for then), meaning that Archbishop Hickey was required to continue as Archbishop of Perth until a successor was announced, at which time, he could then effectively retire.

The Pope has also appointed Archbishop Hickey as Apostolic Administrator of the Archdiocese of Perth until his successor takes possession of the Archdiocese.