Catholics in Broken Hill have welcomed news that the Wilcannia-Forbes diocese will no longer be split up, reports the ABC.
After a year of negotiation, the Congregation of Bishops rejected a proposal that it be dissolved. The diocese covers about half of New South Wales and has been operating without a bishop since 2009.
Parishioner, Jenny Nankivell says the decision is fantastic. "I think it's the most wonderful thing we've ever had told to us," she said.
"We've waited so long for this outcome, because this is what the people of Broken Hill and the diocese really want, to have their own bishop and their own diocese."
She says the past year has been tough on Catholics in the region. "It's been a funny feeling, because we don't know what's going on, we don't have any leadership and we are up in the air constantly," she said.
"But now people will be able to get ourselves on track, we'll have somebody that can lead us, and we'll be able to get on with what we're supposed to get on with, being a church and being good in the community."
The most senior priest in the Wilcannia-Forbes Catholic diocese says finding a new bishop is a matter of priority.
Father Paul Clark says the resignation of the Pope this week could speed up that process. "With all the things that have been around happening these last few days with the resignation of the Holy Father, a lot of things are happening," he said.
FULL STORY Outback Catholics in NSW rejoice: diocese will stay (ABC)