Although retiring later this week, Wollongong Bishop Peter Ingham says he’ll retain a presence in the diocese. Source: Illawarra Mercury.
Bishop Ingham, 77, has served as a bishop for 25 years, including the past 16 in Wollongong.
“I’ve been blown away by the affirmation that people have given me,” he said of his final days as Bishop of Wollongong.
“I suppose for 16-and-a-half years I’ve been around, they know me, and I’ve confirmed so many of their children, visited their schools and parishes. People wonder what priests do, but it’s the influence that you can have on people to help them in their life and encourage them.
“It’s really been quite an exciting journey through the years … I hope I’ve encouraged some people in their faith.”
However, he said retirement doesn’t mean he won’t still be doing ministry. Bishop Ingham will remain a member of the clergy in his next role as Emeritus Bishop.
“You’re not getting rid of me,” he joked at yesterday's farewell Mass at St Francis Xavier Cathedral in Wollongong.
He said he will be based at his family home in Sydney, but would be “back and forth”, and retain a presence in the diocese.
The Diocese of Wollongong takes in the Illawarra, Macarthur, Shoalhaven and the Southern Highlands.
“(Being Emeritus Bishop means) I’m still a bishop, and I can still do service in the diocese.
“I need to get away from here to let the new bishop find his way – he doesn’t want me looking over his shoulder,” he laughed.
It was a packed house at Bishop Ingham’s farewell Mass at St Francis Xavier Cathedral on Sunday, the last of a series of farewell services for him throughout the diocese.
Last November, Bishop Ingham's retirement was announced alongside the appointment of Maitland-Newcastle Diocese Vicar General Fr Brian Mascord as his successor. His episcopal ordination will take place on Thursday.
Farewell mass for Wollongong Bishop Peter Ingham (Illawarra Mercury)