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Diocese of Wollongong

Experience the rich natural settings, fascinating history, spiritual richness and diverse cultures of the Diocese of Wollongong.

Diocese

Peaceful retreats, breathtaking beauty, multicultural setting...
Experience the rich natural settings, fascinating history, spiritual richness and diverse cultures of the Diocese of Wollongong. Located just south of urban Sydney yet you will feel a world away. Enjoy fine beaches, majestic views from our mountains and highlands, lush countryside, colourful rainforests and warm and friendly people. Truly a landscape and people-scape in which to give glory to God!

Map of Wollongong DioceseThe Diocese of Wollongong welcomes you!

Rejoice in the beauty of God's creation, in our distinct regions:
  • The Illawarra Region is characterised by spectacular cliffs hugging a beautiful coastline and unique bushland surrounds among a unique urban and industrial landscape. Our historic St Francis Xavier's Cathedral is located in the City of Wollongong.
  • The Southern Highlands is well known for its colourful gardens, old-style historic villages and many retreat centres.
  • The South Coast offers pristine beaches, picturesque seaside towns, and quaint rural villages. This area's ten national parks each have their own special natural charms including the beach with the world's whitest sand.
  • The Macarthur stretches across the south-west of Sydney, and incorporates the Church of Appin, the oldest continuously used Catholic Church on the Australian mainland.

Prayer for the Diocese :: Lord God, we give you thanks for your abundant blessings on our Diocese and its people. Through the Gospel and the Eucharist, continue to bring together in the Holy Spirit your people in the Diocese of Wollongong, and guide us in your love. Inspire us to keep building on the work of the faithful who have gone before us.

A diocese is the Church's name for the portion of God's people living in a geographical region served by a Bishop. Our Bishop, Peter Ingham, serves thirty-one parishes from Helensburgh down to Ulladulla and from Southern Highlands up to Camden and Campbelltown area.

Our History

On 15 November 1951, Pope Pius XII announced that a new Diocese would be created from the Archdioceses of Sydney and Canberra & Goulburn. To be named Wollongong, the Diocese was officially established on 11 February 1952. Bishop Thomas McCabe was transferred from Port Pirie to become its first bishop and the historic Church of St Francis Xavier's, Wollongong, became the Cathedral. At the time of establishment, there was a Catholic population of approximately 22,000 in 18 parishes.

Whilst the Wollongong Diocese is relatively young, the churches of Campbelltown (1835), Appin (1837), Wollongong (1838), Picton (1847), Kiama (1852), Camden (1859), Shellharbour (1861), Nowra (1863), The Oaks (1865), Albion Park (1867), Bulli (1886), Berrima (1889) and Milton-Ulladulla (1890) enable us to trace our Catholic legacy back to the early times of European settlement and to the era of Archbishop John Bede Polding, Australia's first bishop.

Initially, the Diocese was comprised of parishes in the Illawarra, Shoalhaven and Southern Highland regions. In 1954 it was expanded to include Camden and Campbelltown and in 1975 the parishes of Batemans Bay, Moruya and Narooma reverted to the Archdiocese of Canberra & Goulburn. The early ChurchThe boundaries of the Diocese have since remained the same. The most recently established parish is Rosemeadow (1994), which happens to incorporate the Church of Appin, the oldest continuously used Catholic Church on the Australian mainland.
 
Today, we are the eighth largest diocese in Australia in terms of Catholic population (out of 33 total) and the largest non-Capital city diocese. We are also the fastest growing Diocese in the country; it is projected that the population of the Diocese will reach 1 million within 25 years.

Our Mission

Today, the mission of our local Church reaches out to 194,400 Catholics in 31 parishes[1] and we have 15 migrant chaplaincies. We have 44 Catholic schools, a vibrant youth ministry and a range of aged care, disability and welfare services together with special faith movements celebrating the good news of Jesus Christ in our local area.

Icon - Immaculate Heart of Mary (Spanish)Our Patroness - The Immaculate Heart of Mary

Devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus focuses mostly on His divine love for mankind and encourages our humility, gratitude, obedience, and adoration; devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary focuses on Mary's love for God and encourages our emulating her humility, gratitude, obedience, and adoration.
To you, mother of the Church,
we confidently entrust our Bishop,
our priests and religious, our families, ourselves.
Give us the light of true wisdom, a wisdom to be found only in your Son.
Mother Mary, in this Diocese dedicated to your Immaculate heart - pray for us.

Deaneries

To assist in the organisation of the diocese, the parishes are grouped in regions, known as deaneries. See a listing of our clergy, including our current deans and vicar generals.
Hume Deanery
Parishes of Bowral, Camden, Campbelltown, Eagle Vale, Ingleburn, Macquarie Fields, Mittagong, Moss Vale, Picton, Rosemeadow, Ruse, The Oaks, Varroville

Keira Deanery
Parishes of Bulli, Corrimal, Fairy Meadow, Gwynneville, Helensburgh, Thirroul, Unanderra, West Wollongong, Wollongong (Cathedral)

Flinders Deanery
Parishes of Albion Park, Berkeley, Dapto, Kiama, Milton, Nowra, Port Kembla, Shellharbour, Warrawong

Previous Bishops

  • 1951 - 1974: Thomas Absolem McCabe, RIP, (b.1902 - d.1983)
  • 1975 - 1996: William Edward Murray, now Bishop Emeritus of Wollongong
  • 1996 - 2000: Philip Edward Wilson, now Archbishop of Adelaide
[1] The total population of the Diocese is 659,160 (2011 ABS census) or 29.5% Catholic, 4.2% higher than the national average of 25.3%. The 2006 Census recorded 180,500 Catholics out of a total population of 627,300 - based on the population of the 8 Local Government Areas that comprise the Diocese (Wollongong, Campbelltown, Shoalhaven, Shellharbour, Camden, Wingecarribee, Wollondilly & Kiama - sorted by size.)
  • Tuesday, 03 July 2012
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