About us

 

WHO WE ARE

We are a community of communities, drawn from many languages and cultures who—through Baptism and the Holy Spirit—are committed to knowing, loving and serving Jesus Christ in the modern world.

Led by our local bishop, Brian Mascord, we are today some 191,000 baptised Catholics in the Illawarra, Macarthur, Shoalhaven and Southern Highlands regions of NSW, Australia.

Our diocese has been blessed with a rich diversity—traditional Aboriginal custodians, old settlers and newly-arrived migrants; rural, urban and industrial environments; coastal and highland settings; established townships and some of the fastest growing suburbs in Australia. Our diocese was established in 1952 from elements of the Archdiocese of Sydney and Archdiocese of Canberra and Goulburn. The first parishes in the diocese—Campbelltown (1835), Appin (1837) and Wollongong (1838)—date back to the early days of European settlement.

Although our diocese has a young history, the foundations of our Church go back 2,000 years to the person of Jesus Christ. The beauty and fullness of this Tradition has been handed down to us—and some 3,000 other dioceses around the world—in an unbroken line of popes from St Peter to Pope Francis. Together, we are one in Christ, seeking to be bearers of his saving love.

OUR MISSION

The purpose of our diocese is to propose Jesus Christ by fostering a communion of vibrant parish, school, welfare and religious communities that equip the faithful to carry out the mission of Christ in the world.

OUR VISION

The vision of our diocese is that everyone will encounter the love and mercy of the Father through Jesus Christ, be accompanied by a community of believers and be equipped to share that encounter with others in the power of the Holy Spirit.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENT OF COUNTRY

We acknowledge the traditional custodians of the Dharawal, Tharawal, Gundungurra and Yuin nations upon whose land our Catholic parishes, schools and agencies are built.

We recognise their continuing connection to land, waters and culture. We pay our respects to their Elders—past, present and emerging.


  • 725,000
    total population
  • 191,000
    Catholic population
  • 27
    religious congregations
  • 6
    retreat centres
  • 50,000+
    Advent and Lenten programs distributed each year
  • 70,000+
    Journey Catholic Radio listeners each week

Our bishop

Bishop Brian Gregory Mascord was born in Newcastle NSW on 30 January 1959—the eldest son of Ron and Margaret Mascord (nee Callinan) and older brother to John.  He grew up in the parish of St Mary Immaculate Charlestown (now part of the MacKillop Parish incorporating Charlestown, Gateshead and Redhead.)  Through the gift of his grandparents, Brian has a close relationship with his extended family.

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  • 60
    years old
  • 6
    years as a primary school teacher
  • 1992
    ordained to the priesthood
  • 13
    parishes served in Newcastle-Maitland
  • 2018
    ordained the fifth bishop of Wollongong
  • 4,500
    attendance at ordination

Our parishes

“The parish is the presence of the Church in a given territory, an environment for hearing God’s word, for growth in the Christian life, for dialogue, proclamation, charitable outreach, worship and celebration. In all its activities the parish encourages and trains its members to be evangelisers. It is a community of communities, a sanctuary where the thirsty come to drink in the midst of their journey, and a centre of constant missionary outreach” (Pope Francis, Evangelii Gaudium, 28).

Find Your Parish
  • 32
    parishes
  • 40+
    active clergy in parishes
  • 325
    masses per week
  • 18,500
    weekend Mass attendees
  • 20
    languages
  • 2,500+
    parish volunteers

Our schools

Catholic education is a significant contributor to the broader evangelising mission of the Church—a mission through which the person of Jesus Christ is made known and loved. It is hoped that this missionary impulse is evident in every aspect and dimension of school life. With this missionary focus, our schools are committed to the formation of the whole person; a formation that encompasses the spiritual, intellectual, physical, social, moral, aesthetic and religious capacity of each child that enters its doors.

Find Your School
  • 46
    Catholic schools
  • 2,000
    Systemic school teachers & support staff
  • 26,000
    students
  • 19,000
    families
  • 1 in 5
    students in the region educated in our Catholic schools

Our social services

Inspired by the Gospel of Jesus Christ, especially the parable of the Good Samaritan, CatholicCare reaches out to the whole community by bringing joy to those they serve—enabling growth, healing and hope.

As the social services agency for the diocese, CatholicCare’s range of services providing social and emotional support throughout life’s journey, supporting people to have positive relationships and connected lives, achieve the dignity of self-reliance, and realise their full human potential.

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  • 6
    sites throughout the diocese
  • 243
    employees
  • 85,342
    hours of support
  • 12,755
    lives enriched
  • 262
    social outings for aged and disability clients
  • 1,551
    visits provided to people in aged care homes