Bishop Christopher Prowse, of Sale, was appointed by Pope Francis on 12 September as the Archdiocese’s seventh Archbishop. He will be installed at St Christopher’s Cathedral in Canberra on Tuesday, 19 November.
On behalf of the clergy, religious and lay faithful of the Archdiocese, Archdiocesan Administrator Mgr John Woods welcomed the appointment by Pope Francis with “joy and gratitude to God”.
“We pray for Archbishop-Elect Christopher Prowse as we look forward to his installation,” he said. “May his pastoral ministry in Christ’s name engage all the faithful of the Archdiocese, other Christians, adherents to other religions and all people of good will.”
Bishop Prowse, who will turn 60 only days before his installation, has been Bishop of Sale since mid-2009.
Ordained to the priesthood in August 1980, he served in a number of parishes around Melbourne before he was ordained Auxiliary Bishop of Melbourne in May 2003. He was elected to the permanent committee of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference in May this year and chairs the Bishops’ Commission for Ecumenism and Inter-religious Relations. Born in East Melbourne, the third of six children, Bishop Prowse was educated at St Francis Xavier Primary School and was captain of St Leo’s College in Box Hill. After attaining degrees in arts and theology, he completed a doctorate of moral theology.
His father, Frank, played for Hawthorn in the Victorian Football League and Bishop Prowse remains a Hawks supporter.
The Archdiocese has been vacant since the transfer of Archbishop Mark Coleridge to Brisbane on 2 April, 2012.
You have been waiting patiently for the Holy Father to send you a new Archbishop. Your beloved Archbishop Mark Coleridge was transferred to the Archdiocese of Brisbane about 18 months ago. Thank you for your prayerful watchfulness and intercession.
To my great surprise, His Holiness, Pope Francis, has appointed me as your 11th Archbishop of Canberra & Goulburn. I thank the Holy Father for his trust and confidence in me to be your new Archbishop.
Totally relying on the Lord Jesus’ grace and mercy, I accept humbly and wholeheartedly this appointment.
It happens in the Year of Faith. May this appointment be seen as a way of strengthening our faith in Jesus, our Lord and Saviour.
I come to you as a simple pilgrim in Christ. We are largely unknown to each other. Yet, already we know each other in a certain way by the bonds that unite us together in our Catholic faith. We have much time ahead to “encourage one other and build up each other” (1Thess.5/11).
The work of evangelization will continue afresh in the Archdiocese. Already you have done much. Let us gather even closer to God’s favorites: the poor and marginalized. There is a sense of urgency in the mission that still awaits us. Let us place again Jesus at the very center of this mission right now.
Until I am installed as your new Archbishop and thereafter, may I ask you most sincerely to pray for me. I have need of your prayer support.
May Jesus bless you, your families, and loved ones.
Bishop Christopher Prowse