Bishop Peter Comensoli, a former auxiliary of the Sydney archdiocese, has been appointed Bishop of Broken Bay and said he is both humbled and excited at the prospect of shepherding his new local Church. “I am humbled and happy to be asked by the Holy Father to be the third Bishop of Broken Bay,” Bishop Comensoli said Nov. 20, the day of his appointment. “A diocese is like a great family united in the love of Christ, and I am keen to make my home with the good people of Broken Bay Diocese,” he said, adding that “I am looking forward to getting to know the family that is Broken Bay Diocese.” He noted that “parishes are neighbourhoods of grace, not just congregations. I am keen to work with all our priests and people in growing our neighbourhoods of grace into bright beacons of faith, hope and love.” “If I could ask one thing,” Bishop Comensoli added, “may it be for your prayers for this sinner called to be your shepherd, after the heart of the Good Shepherd … I unite myself to you in your joys and hopes, your griefs and anxieties.” Bishop Comensoli was born in Bulli, a town in Australia's state of New South Wales, in 1964. He studied commerce at Wollongong University and the University of New England, and then entered seminary in 1986. He studied at St. Patrick's College and the Catholic Institute of Sydney, and was ordained a priest of the Diocese of Wollongong in 1992. As a priest, he obtained a license in moral theology from the Alfonsiana Academia, a master's in moral philosophy from the University of St. Andrews, and a doctorate in theological ethics from Edinburgh University. In 2011 he was consecrated a bishop, and appointed an auxiliary of the Sydney archdiocese. There, he served as vicar general, episcopal vicar for life, marriage and family, and chair of the Catholic schools board. When the Archdiocese of Sydney was left vacant by Cardinal Pell's transfer to the Secretariat for the Economy, Bishop Comensoli served as apostolic administrator. His appointment to Broken Bay follows a year-long vacancy since Bishop David Walker retired, on his 75th birthday. Bishop Comensoli's Mass of Installation will be said Dec. 12 at Our Lady of the Rosary Cathedral in Waitara.
The Diocese of Broken Bay covers more than 1,000 square miles, in the northern suburbs of Sydney and up the central coast to Toukley, more than 70 miles from the state capital. The diocese includes 218,000 Catholics, roughly a quarter of the total population, and 26 parishes. In 2012, it was served by 37 diocesan priests, and 75 religious.