Published: 14 December 2013
In 2013 the Augustinians celebrated 175 years of continuous ministry in Australia. It all began through a chance meeting in Rome between a young Irish Augustinian friar and an experienced missionary priest visiting from Australia.
The meeting happened on the steps of the ancient Augustinian Church of Santa Maria del Popolo near the centre of Rome. These two priests were an Englishman and an Irishman respectively. The former was Rev Dr William Ullathorne, Vicar of the Australian Mission, then visiting Europe to recruiting priests for the church in Australia. The later was James Alypius Goold O.S.A., who had been educated for the priesthood at Perugia in Italy, had returned briefly to his native town of Cork in Ireland after his ordination, and had then been assigned to an Augustinian seminary in Rome – and all this by the time he was still only twenty-six years’ old.
Images: (Left) James Goold O.S.A.. (Centre) Church of S. Maria del Popolo and its front steps. (Right) William Ullathorne O.S.B.
Goold was impressed by Ullathorne’s description of the Church’s fledgling mission Sydney, Australia and the need for additional priests there. He sought and received permission from the Augustinian Order in Ireland to take up the pastoral challenge in Australia. Bishop John Bede Polding O.S.B. in Sydney appointed Goold as Parish Priest at Campbelltown, seventy kilometres distant. Goold built churches and schools, and gained repute as an outstanding missionary pastor by his piety and diligence.
What Goold himself envisioned as a ten-year appointment in Australia – even when after nine years when pondering what to undertake next – was suddenly extended by the Pope to be a lifelong appointment. Goold became the first bishop (and later the first archbishop) of Melbourne, and a principal figure in the history of Roman Catholicism in Australia.
And the rest is history! Refer to the other pages listed as links in the right column of this page.