The episcopal ordination of Most Reverend Martin Ashe and Most Reverend Anthony Ireland will take place on Saturday 31 July at St Patrick’s Cathedral from 10.30am. The Mass will be broadcast on free-to-air community channel C31 (channel 44 on digital TV) and streamed live on the Archdiocesan YouTube channel.

Bishops elect July21
Most Reverend Anthony John Ireland and Most Reverend Martin Ashe Images by Fiona Basile

Pope Francis announced the appointment of the two new auxiliary bishops for the Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne earlier this year. Following the announcement, Bishop-elect Ireland reflected that having served and supported archdiocesan leadership for many years, he understood the ‘joyful consolations, the crosses, and silent sorrows that those in high office carry’.

‘I accept this appointment from the Holy Father with the hope that I can keep a positive balance and attitude whilst continually trusting in the Lord Jesus who promised to accompany us until the end of time,’ he said.

The pandemic has posed many challenges in planning public gatherings and ceremonies, and Saturday’s ordination will be no different, with attendees capped at 100 as per COVID restrictions.

Archbishop Peter A Comensoli will be the principal consecrator of the Mass and encouraged the community to continue praying for the two bishops-elect.

‘I ask for your prayers for our Bishops-elect as they prepare for this special day and for the roles they will take amongst us. May the Holy Spirit grace them both with the gifts of faithfulness, wisdom, strength, gentleness and compassion.’

Once ordained, Bishop-elect Ashe will become the Episcopal Vicar of the Western Region of the Archdiocese, while Bishop-elect Ireland will take up his appointment as Episcopal Vicar of the Southern Region.

Bishop-elect Ashe said this time of the pandemic provided an important opportunity for the Church ‘to provide a sense of the Lord’s presence in people’s lives’.

‘In this time of the pandemic, it’s even more important to be a presence and to comfort people, giving [them] a sense that we’re all together in going forward at this time in the world, and that we all have a part to play in making our world a better place and a more healing environment.’

The episcopal ordination of Bishop-elect Martin Ashe and Bishop-elect Anthony John Ireland will take place on Saturday 31 July 2021 at St Patrick’s Cathedral. The Mass will be livestreamed from 10.30am on the Archdiocesan YouTube channel ( and broadcast on free-to-air TV community channel C31 (channel 44 on digital TV).