THE appointment of a new Bishop of Wagga, after nearly four years of waiting, has been warmly welcomed by two of Albury's highest profile Catholics.
Bishop Mark Edwards, of Melbourne, was named the new head of the southern Riverina diocese by Pope Francis on Tuesday night
Lavington priest Brendan Lee said he was "very happy" the role had been filled and the diocese would no longer need to be administered remotely by the Archbishop of Canberra and Goulburn Christopher Prowse.
"I'm very elated to be getting a bishop so we can get back to normality," he said.
"Things have been run from Canberrra but nothing beats a man on the ground."
Member for Albury Justin Clancy, who was chairman of the Sacred Heart Parish in North Albury at the time of Bishop Hanna's resignation, applauded the appointment.
"I think the community has been patiently awaiting this news and certainly having the guidance of a bishop is a big part of the Catholic community," Mr Clancy said.
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"Three-and-a-half-years is certainly a long time and in that sense there will be relief with the appointment."
Bishop Edwards, 60, was born in Indonesia and grew up in Adelaide, Darwin and Melbourne before becoming a member of the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate order.
After entering the priesthood in 1986 he did a science degree at Monash University and worked in secondary and seminary education.
In a letter to followers in the Wagga diocese, Bishop Edwards expresses gratitude for his new role and notes the lengthy interregnum.
"You have waited a long time for a new bishop," Bishop Edwards said.
"I thank you all for your perseverance, your patience and your good will."
Bishop Edwards wrote that COVID-19 meant his installation would not be as large as those of his five predecessors in the diocese, which was formed in 1917.
"I do plan to move around and be in various parishes and meet as many of you as possible, as quickly as possible," he said.
Australian Catholic Bishops Conference president Archbishop Mark Coleridge said Bishop Edwards "brings to the episcopal ministry a combination of simplicity and sophistication, and that will equip him well for all that awaits him in Wagga".