For the first time a priest of the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of the Southern Cross, Australia, Father Lyall Cowell, has been appointed to a diocesan parish.
Fr Cowell was ordained an Anglican priest in 1973 and in the last nine years before his reception into the Catholic Church and his ordination as a Catholic priest in 2012 served as a military chaplain to the Australian armed forces. Recently he has been living with his wife in North Brisbane, Queensland.
With effect from Sept 6th 2014, Fr Cowell will be seconded to the Catholic Diocese of Lismore, New South Wales, just south of Brisbane, for a period of three years and take up the position of administrator in the parish of St John, Mullumbimby. He will have the added responsibility of promoting the Ordinariate in that diocese, offering the Ordinariate mass in the parish and gathering and growing an Ordinariate group.
He will remain an Ordinariate priest with responsibility to the Bishop of Lismore and the Ordinary OLSC for the respective ministries he will undertake in each jurisdiction. This is a groundbreaking appointment for us in Australia and one which highlights the ministry of the Ordinariate as being one of diversity in unity with the Western Catholic Church.
The Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham in the UK already has quite a number of priests working in diocesan parishes in three different circumstances. First there are those priests who have been appointed priest-in-charge or assistant priest of the parish in which the Ordinariate group which they pastor is hosted. Then there are several priests who administer a diocesan parish and pastor an Ordinariate group in two different places. And finally there is the smaller number of priests who have no Ordinariate group of their own, but who work in a diocesan parish.