Most Rev William Joseph Wright BTh, BA(Hons), DD Bishop of Maitland-Newcastle
Bishop Bill Wright died on 13 November 2021. In late November 2021, Father Greg Barker was appointed as the Diocesan Administrator until a new bishop is appointed by the Holy Father, Pope Francis.
Bishop William (Bill) Wright was ordained eighth Bishop of the Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle by the former Archbishop of Sydney, Cardinal George Pell, on June 15 2011 at Sacred Heart Cathedral, Hamilton.
Bishop Bill Wright is the third and youngest child of Jack and Nan Wright (both deceased). He has a sister, Patricia and a brother, Robert. He was born on 26 October 1952 in Washington DC, where his father, an economist with the Australian Central Bank (Commonwealth, later Reserve, Bank) was seconded to the International Monetary Fund.
The family returned to Australia when young Bill was only a baby. He was educated by the Sisters of Mercy at Pymble and by the Jesuits at St Aloysius' College, Milsons Point, with two years at Wimbledon College, another Jesuit school, when Jack was London Manager of the Reserve Bank of Australia.
He was educated for priesthood at St Columba's College, Springwood (1971‐73) and St Patrick's College, Manly (1974‐77).
Bill Wright was ordained to the diaconate in October 1976 and to the priesthood on 20 August 1977 at St Mary's Cathedral. After ordination, he gained a BA(Hons), largely in History, at Sydney University.
He has served the parishes of Stanmore, Mount Druitt, Fairfield, Enmore, Dulwich Hill, Bonnyrigg, Moree, Sutherland and Liverpool.
In addition, Bishop Bill was Vice-Rector of St Patrick’s College, Manly (1985-1991) and Assistant Secretary to the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference, in Canberra, in 1995.
Since his ordination as bishop, he has served as the Co-Chair of the National Committee for Professional Standards. He was a member of the Truth Justice and Healing Council throughout its existence (2013-18). He has been a member of the Bishops Commission for Church Ministry and the Bishops Commission for Ecumenism and Inter-Religious Relations and is currently a member of the Bishops Commission for Evangelisation Laity and Ministry and the Bishops Commission for Social Justice, Mission and Service.
Previous bishops include:
- Charles Henry Davis OSB (1848 - 1854)
- James Murray (1865 - 1909)
- Patrick Vincent Dwyer (1909 - 1931)
- Edmund Gleeson CSsR (1931 - 1956)
- John Thomas Toohey (1956 - 1975)
- Leo Morris Clarke (1976 - 1995)
- Michael John Malone (1995 - 2011)
- William Joseph Wright (2011 – 2021)