Bishop celebrates decade at Townsville diocese
BISHOP Michael Putney celebrated a decade at the Townsville diocese at the weekend and said it has been the most exciting time of his life.
The bishop has initiated countless projects during the past decade to aid the Catholic church.
‘‘ A lot of people have been saying they’re surprised it’s been 10 years, but I’m not,’’ he said.
‘‘ So much has happened in that time and they’ve been the most exciting, demanding and rewarding years of my life.’’
Bishop Putney said interaction with people was high on t he list of personal achievements.
‘‘ I could talk about the renovated cathedral as one of the major points, but I’d point to achievements with people as the biggest,’’ he said.
‘‘ We train to bring about change and the change with people is much more important than anything else or any building.
‘‘ One of the great things we’ve done is with indigenous students and the number of them in Catholic schooling . . . it has increased hugely in the past decade.’’
Bishop Putney said he was halfway through his service as a bishop and would retire in 10 years after a few more goals had been achieved.
One of his main focuses for the future was youth.
‘‘ We have seven young people working in the diocese and we’re hoping to get a lot more,’’ he said.
‘‘ If we don’t work with young people, we’re not going to have any future.’’
The diocese hopes to send 50 young people to Madrid this year to be involved in World Youth Day cel-ebrations.
‘‘ I find what we’re doing very exciting and I want to share it with young people,’’ he said.
Bishop Putney said when he started at the diocese 10 years ago, he was standoffish but now he knew the area and was confident in moving forward.
‘ ‘ I want to fill our churches again. Numbers have dwindled in the last few decades,’’ he said.
REWARDING: Bishop Michael Putney celebrates 10 years as Bishop of the Townsville diocese