Archbishop Timothy Costelloe SDB has officially taken over the presidency of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference, two months after being elected to the post.

The Bishops Conference’s biennial election of president and vice-president took place at its May plenary meeting. Archbishop Costelloe was elected president, with Archbishop Anthony Fisher OP re-elected vice-president.

The bishops agreed to delay the handover of the role until after the second assembly of the Fifth Plenary Council of Australia, for which Archbishop Costelloe served as president for more than four years.

The second assembly concluded on Saturday, but the date for the change of president was 13 July —to coincide with the completion of a retreat for bishops that ended on Wednesday afternoon.

Archbishop Costelloe, the Archbishop of Perth, becomes the first bishop of a West Australian diocese and the first bishop who is a member of a religious order to lead the Bishops Conference.

He succeeds Archbishop Mark Coleridge, who served as president for four years.

When elected in May, Archbishop Costelloe said, ‘As we continue to contemplate how we live out the Gospel in this age … I look forward to working with my brother bishops and the People of God to carry forward Christ’s mission.’