IT will be a quiet retirement for the Catholic Bishop of Bathurst, the most reverend Patrick Dougherty.
The Bishop yesterday revealed his request two years ago to retire had been accepted by Pope Benedict XVI, with simultaneous announcements being made at 8pm last night in Rome and Bathurst.
Bishop Dougherty, who will celebrate his 77th birthday on Friday, November 21, is looking forward to living a quiet life in retirement in Bathurst.
“After 25 years I will be quite happy to bow out,” Bishop Dougherty said.
“A group of diocesan priests will be consultors to elect the next Bishop of Bathurst.
“A priest will be announced to become diocesan administrator until the new bishop has been appointed.”
Bishop Dougherty said he has no real plans other than remaining in Bathurst and “hoping I can be of some help”.
“I’ve had so many happy moments, none more than the most recent World Youth Day which was very special with so many young people from overseas staying in Bathurst - in fact, all parishes,” Bishop Dougherty said.
“Other wonderful memories are the ordination of young priests of the diocese in the early days. They were also very special moments for me. But it is fair to say we have not had many new priests in recent years.”
Bishop Dougherty has overseen a diocese also taking in parishes including Orange, Dubbo, Lithgow and Mudgee.
Bishop Dougherty celebrated a memorable milestone in December 2004 when he was feted at a Golden Jubilee Mass or Ordination celebrated in St Michael and St John’s Cathedral.
His Eminence Cardinal Edward Clancy, AC, Emeritus Bishop of Sydney, celebrated the anniversary mass attended by 65 priests from throughout NSW.
There were five visiting Catholic bishops in Bathurst - Emeritus Bishop Douglas Warren (Wilcannia Forbes) and Bishops Patrick Murphy (Broken Bay), Kevin Manning (Parramatta), Patrick Power (Canberra/Goulburn) and Christopher Toohey (Wilcannia/Forbes).
The cathedral where Bishop Dougherty was honoured in his Golden Jubilee year had also been the scene in December 2001 of the Silver Jubilee Mass to celebrate his 25 years as a bishop.
Bishop Dougherty was ordained a Bishop on December 8, 1976 and from then until 1983 was an Auxiliary Bishop of the Canberra and Goulburn Archdiocese and the Secretary of the Australian Episcopal Conference.
In 1983, Bishop Dougherty was appointed as Bishop of Bathurst and was installed on October 5, that year. He followed in the footsteps of Bishop Albert Thomas who was bishop from September 29, 1963 until April 12, 1983 when he retired.
Bishop Dougherty was the seventh Bishop of Bathurst. The first was Matthew Quinn, followed by Joseph Byrne, John Dunne, Michael O’Farrell, John Norton and Albert Thomas.
Bishop Dougherty was born in Kensington, Sydney, the second of four sons of William and Madge Dougherty.
He received his primary education at Our Lady of the Rosary school and Waverley College. His secondary education was completed at St Columba’s College, Springwood in 1948.
It was from there that Bishop Dougherty continued studies for the priesthood at St Patrick’s College, Manly in 1950 before travelling to Rome to Propaganda Fide College where he was ordained a priest on December 7, 1954.
Bishop Dougherty obtained his Doctorate of Divinity in Spiritual Theology from the Urban University in Rome in February 1957, returning immediately to Australia to accept an appointment as Assistant Priest of St Mel’s, Campsie.
At Cardinal Gilroy’s invitation, Bishop Dougherty returned to Rome throughout 1958 to research the life of Mother Mary Potter, foundress of the Little Company of Mary. Then followed three years as Lecturer in Logic, History of Philosophy, Latin and Italian at St Columba’s Seminary, Springwood from 1959 to 1961.
Bishop Dougherty had been Dean of Students at Springwood and in 1961 Director of Spiritual Year for first year students.
In 1962, Bishop Dougherty returned to Rome as an Assistant Vice Rector of Propaganda Fide College and five years later he was appointed the Vice Rector of the College.
In 1963 he published his book Mother Mary Potter, foundress of the Little Company of Mary.