Tribute to Lismore ‘shepherd’, Bishop John Satterthwaite

THE Catholic Diocese of Lismore has announced the death of the Emeritus Bishop of Lismore, Most Reverend John Steven Satterthwaite, who passed away in his sleep at Port Macquarie on Saturday.

Bishop Satterthwaite was born in Sydney, on 11 August 1928.

He went to Ashford State School and later attended St Joseph's College, Hunter's Hill, as a boarder.

He studied engineering at university and took up residence at St John's College in 1946, where he enjoyed debating and rugby.

Academically brilliant, he graduated in 1949 with a degree of Bachelor of Engineering (Civil Division) and the following year he started work as a junior engineer with Australian Iron and Steel, Port Kembla.

It was in 1951 that Bishop Satterthwaite decided to study for the priesthood.

He was accepted by Bishop Edward Doody for the Diocese of Armidale and went to St Columba's College, Springwood.

After six months at St Patrick's College at Manly, he left for Rome in 1953 to study at the Irish College and at the Lateran University.

He was ordained a Priest in Rome on March 16, 1957 by Archbishop Luigi Traglia, and obtained the degree, Doctor of Divinity, after a further 12 months.

Sixteen members of the Australian Hierarchy were among the congregation of some thirteen hundred, which witnessed the Episcopal Ordination in St Carthage's Cathedral on May 1, 1969.

The Diocese and the City of Lismore celebrated the ordination of the new Bishop with a concert at City Hall, at which the Bishop received a testimonial, a children's mass at Oakes Oval, a civic reception, and a Mass for Religious.

With the retirement of Bishop Farrelly on August 31, 1971 he became Bishop of Lismore.

In 1986 the Bishop oversaw a major restoration program at the church, which included the re-roofing of the entire building and a complete overhaul of the pipe organ.

According to the statement on the Catholic Diocese of Lismore's website, Bishop Satterthwaite had an "ongoing commitment" to supporting charities.

"He arranged for the Diocese to be responsible for the conducting of St Vincent's Hospital, Lismore; the St Joseph's Cowper Children's Home and two homes for the aged," the Diocese statement says.

"The Bishop encouraged parishes to provide care for the aged and supported the Sisters of Mercy and the Society of St Vincent d Paul in similar projects.

"During his Episcopate, many building initiatives were undertaken.

"He approved new and re-furbished schools, presbyteries, churches, parish centres, hospital additions, new and expanded aged care facilities.

"In an interview Bishop Satterthwaite was asked about the English origin of his family name ... he explained that it related to sheep and the field where sheep graze. He commented that as a Bishop his role was to be shepherd."

On December 1, 2001, Bishop Satterthwaite's resignation as Bishop of Lismore was accepted.

Most Reverend Geoffrey Jarrett became Fifth Bishop of Lismore.

Funeral arrangements for Bishop Satterthwaite have not yet been finalised.

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