Leadership - Archdiocese of Brisbane


The Archdiocese of Brisbane is led by our Archbishop, Auxiliary Bishop & Vicar General.

The Archdiocese of Brisbane leadership consists of Archbishop Mark Coleridge, Bishop Ken Howell and Vicar General Monsignor Peter Meneely.

Archbishop Mark Coleridge

Archbishop Mark Coleridge, BA DSS

Archbishop Mark Coleridge

Archbishop Mark Coleridge

Archbishop Mark Benedict Coleridge is the Archbishop of the Archdiocese of Brisbane.

Please see our Archbishop section for more information about Archbishop Mark Coleridge including his biography, past homilies, pastoral messages and more.

Contact Archbishop Mark Coleridge

Bishop Ken Howell

Bishop Ken Howell

Bishop Ken Howell

Bishop Ken Howell

Born on 20 February 1958, Bishop Ken Howell was educated at St James College, Fortitude Valley, and joined Queensland Rail after his school years working as a clerk in the Chief Engineers Office.

In 1977, he entered Pius XII Regional Seminary, and he was ordained a Priest on 24 June 1983. From 1983 to 1994, he worked as Assistant Priest in the Parishes of Noosa Districts, Burleigh Heads and the Cathedral, Brisbane.

Between 1994 and 1997, he completed a Licentiate in Sacred Liturgy at the Pontifical Institute Sant’Anselmo in Rome. He served as Secretary to the then Archbishop John Bathersby from 1997 to 2010. During this time, Bishop Howell served at the Cathedral as Associate Pastor and Director of Worship from 1997 to 2005, Dean of the Cathedral between 2006 and 2012 and as Vice Rector of the Holy Spirit Seminary between 2002 and 2008. In 2009, he took on a concurrent appointment as Administrator of St Mary’s Parish, South Brisbane.

In 2013 he became the Parish Priest at Burleigh Heads. The Bishop has been a long-standing member of the Council of Priests and Chairman from 2008 to 2013. He is also a member of the Archdiocesan Liturgical Commission, which he was chairing at the time of his appointment by Pope Francis on March 29, 2017.

At the time of that announcement Bishop Howell said he looked to the future with confidence “with the gifts of the Holy Spirit and the love and prayers of the people of God who have supported my ministry”.

“I ask you to pray for me as I accept the invitation of our Holy Father to serve the Church as a member of the College of Bishops”.

Bishop Howell’s Episcopal Ordination was held on June 14, 2017.

Contact Bishop Ken Howell

Vicar General Monsignor Peter Meneely

Vicar General Monsignor Peter Meneely

Msgr Peter Meneely

Msgr Peter Meneely

The Vicar General of the Archdiocese is the Rev Msgr Peter Meneely VG who was appointed by Archbishop Bathersby as the Moderator of the Curia in 2000. Archbishop Coleridge appointed Fr Meneely as Vicar General of the Archdiocese from June 2012.

The main focus of the office is to represent the Archbishop in overseeing the work of the various departments and Church offices within the Archdiocesan Curia. The role also involves providing an executive capacity to the Archbishop for the carrying out of his extensive range of responsibilities.

As guided by Canon Law, the priest appointed to the Office is to be known for his sound doctrine, integrity, prudence and practical experience (Canon 478 §1).

A further canon provides that the Vicar General possesses, by virtue of his Office, the same executive power as the Bishop throughout the whole diocese as belongs by law to the Bishop. This means that the Vicar General can perform all administrative acts as the Bishop does, with the exception of those administrative acts which the Bishop has reserved to himself, or which by law requires a special mandate of the Bishop (Canon 479 §1).

Contact Msgr Peter Meneely

Archbishop Emeritus John Bathersby

Archbishop Emeritus John Bathersby

Archbishop Emeritus John Bathersby

Archbishop Emeritus John Bathersby

John Alexius Bathersby was born in Stanthorpe on 26th July, 1936, the son of John Thomas and Grace Maud (nee Conquest) Bathersby.

He has an older sister, Carmel, a younger brother, Michael, and two younger sisters, Suzanne and Anne.

His father was a shopkeeper and publican at the “Country Club Hotel” in Stanthorpe.

He did his primary schooling at St Joseph’s Stanthorpe, (1941 – 1950) and, for his secondary schooling, boarded at Nudgee College (1951 – 1954).

From school, he entered Pius XII Seminary, Banyo, to begin his training for the priesthood and, on completion of those studies (1955 – 1961), he was ordained in his home Parish of Stanthorpe by Bishop William Brennan on 30th June, 1961.

His first seven years as a Priest were spent as an Associate Pastor and Administrator at Goondiwindi before being sent to Rome for further studies in 1969 where he completed a licentiate in Theology at the Gregorian University, and a Diploma in Spirituality at the Terasianum University.

He was then appointed to Pius XII Seminary in Brisbane where he served as Spiritual Director for seven years before returning to Rome for a Doctorate in Theology / Spirituality in 1979. He returned to the Seminary until he was appointed Bishop of Cairns in 1986.

In 1986, Dr. Bathersby was ordained Bishop of Cairns by Archbishop Rush, whom he succeeded as Archbishop of Brisbane on 30th January, 1992.

Archbishop Bathersby is keenly involved in ecumenical affairs both nationally and internationally. He was a member of the International Catholic-Methodist Dialogue from 1989 -1995. He served as Co-Chairman of the Australian Catholic-Uniting Church Dialogue, concluding the co-chair role in 2009. In July 1997 he was appointed President of the National Council of Churches in Australia. He completed this appointment in July 2000. In January 2001 he was appointed Co-Chair of the International Anglican-Roman Catholic Commission for Unity and Mission Working Group concluding this role in 2010.

With the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference, the Archbishop has served as Deputy President of the Australian Catholic Bishops’ Conference 2000-2006, Chairman of the Bishops’ Committee for Justice, Development, Ecology and Peace 2000-2006, and Chairman of Catholic Earthcare Australia 2000-2004. He was formerly Chairman of the Bishops’ Commission for Mission and Faith Formation. He was also a member of the executive of the Confederation of Bishops’ Conferences of Oceania from 1991 to May 1994.

His interests include bushwalking, mountain climbing, watching sport and listening to classical music.

If he wished to boast, as St Paul did not, he would talk about riding a Vespa in Rome for six years, climbing Mt. Sinai, walking to the Stinson, and listening to Joan Sutherland in Rome, Buddy Holly in Brisbane, and the Beatles in Sydney.

In 2003 he hosted the second Brisbane Archdiocesan Synod, but the first to include the participation of lay people.

He retired in November 2011.

Retired Auxiliary Bishop Joseph Oudeman OFM Cap

Retired Auxiliary Bishop Joseph Oudeman OFMCap, D.D.

Joseph John Oudeman was born on 2 March 1942 in Breda, The Netherlands, and was baptised on the same day in the parish Church of Christ the King.

He is the eldest of five children, two girls and three boys, of Johannes and Johanna Oudeman. The family emigrated to Australia and arrived in Melbourne in February 1956.

Joseph attended the Parish Primary School of Christ the King in Breda and then in 1954-1955 he entered the Minor Seminary of the Capuchin Friars in Oosterhout (NB). Upon arrival in Australia, Joseph attended St. Patrick’s College, Ballarat for one year [1956].

He then entered the Minor Seminary of the Capuchin Friars at Plumpton, NSW [1957-1959]. On the 21 January 1963 Joseph made simple profession as a Capuchin friar and then solemn profession on 27 January 1966.

He was ordained to the Priesthood on 29 June 1966 in St. Joseph’s Church, Iona, Victoria, by Bishop Lyons of the Sale Diocese. Soon after he commenced post graduate studies at the Gregorian University in Rome [1966-1968]. As well as a licentiate in theology, Joseph has a Bachelor of Arts in Religious Studies from the University of Queensland.

Upon his return to Australia, Father Joseph began a ministry that has been largely focused on the formation of Capuchin friars. This involved a period of nineteen years: 1969-1987. Within this time he taught at Catholic Theological Union at Hunters Hill, NSW, from 1969 until 1976. He was Novicemaster from 1977-1979 and 1985-1987. His Order elected him their Provincial Minister in 1987 and this ministry of leadership concluded in 1996.

Joseph then moved to Brisbane in 1997 to become Associate Pastor of Guardian Angels Parish, Wynnum and Chaplain to the elderly Dutch migrants within the Archdiocese. He has also served as President of the South-East Asian Pacific Capuchin Conference.

In February 2001, Archbishop Bathersby appointed Father Oudeman as Dean of the Ethnic Chaplains and their communities. His multi-cultural interest as a Capuchin has been significant in recent years and he brings these gifts, together with his wisdom and scholarship in the area of spirituality to the ministry of episcopacy.

Bishop Oudeman is termed an Auxiliary Bishop.

In the Roman Catholic Church, an auxiliary bishop is an additional bishop assigned to a diocese because either the diocesan bishop is unable to perform his functions, or more usually, the diocese is so extensive that it requires more than one bishop to administer.

As Canon law provides, no bishop can be ordained without title to a certain and distinct episcopal see which he governs either actually or potentially, therefore auxiliary bishops are titular bishops to sees (dioceses) that no longer exist.

Bishop Oudeman is the Titular Bishop of Respetta, a diocese that formerly existed in Numidia in Northern Africa (located on the eastern border of modern day Algeria).

When dealing with a Bishop the more formal method of address is “My Lord…” but most often using the title of Bishop along with their christian name will suffice.

The Holy Father accepted the resignation of Bishop Joseph Oudeman, O.F.M. Cap as Auxiliary Bishop of Brisbane on March 29, 2017. At the time of this announcement the Archbishop of Brisbane, Mark Coleridge said “we thank Bishop Joseph for his years of episcopal service in the Archdiocese. We pray that his years of retirement will be fruitful and peaceful. May the Lord grant him good health and the reward of a faithful servant”.

Contact Retired Bishop Joseph Oudeman

Retired Auxiliary Bishop John Gerry

Retired Auxiliary Bishop John Gerry

Bishop John Joseph Gerry was born in Brisbane on June 1, 1927, the second of eight children and the eldest son.

To make use of his own words from a 2013 interview, he was born into “a family of faith.”

“We had our family rosary with all the trimmings,” Bishop Gerry said.

“There were eight of us going through the great depression and I think dad was unemployed when I was born.

“Mum lived to be 92 and in her later life, when we tried to get her to talk about the tough times raising a big family in those years, it was an assessment of her whole life and the family spirit when she said ‘the Lord has been good to us, God looked after us.’

Bishop Gerry lived in Milton and was educated under the Sisters of Mercy, and later the Marist Brothers at Rosalie, a factor he attributes greatly to the development of his spirituality.

He completed sub-senior and senior (the equivalent of today’s Grade 11 and 12) at Banyo Seminary in 1942 and 1943 and has fond memories of watching RAAF pilots involved in training dog fights over the airport.

As Australia was still deemed ‘mission territory’ under the oversight of the Congregation for the Propogation of the Faith, and would remain so until 1975, there was provision for each of the Queensland Dioceses to have a seminarian study overseas at the Congregation’s College in Rome.

Bishop Gerry was chosen as candidate for Brisbane by Seminary Rector Monsignor Vince Cleary.

In 1946 he travelled by boat to Naples and then onto Rome to complete studies for the priesthood, being ordained at the conclusion of the Marian Year of 1950 (December 21).

Upon return to Brisbane in late 1951 Archbishop Duhig felt the young priest was too thin and looking unwell. Out of concern for his health, he was posted to Coolangatta for five years.

After five happy years of pastoral work in a growing parish, which then ranged out to Mudgeeraba and Springbook (now part of Burleigh Parish), he was posted to the Cathedral and lived at Wynberg.

Other priests on staff through those years included Msgr John Torpie (later Bishop of Cairns), Fr Frank Douglas and Fr Joe Flannery.

In 1961,being close at hand to the Archbishop, he was sent to Stafford as an administrator to relieve the inaugural pastor, Fr Mick Carew, whilst he was on sick leave.

A year later the move was made permanent and he remained Parish Priest of the still infant parish until 1974.

“These were great years. It was a young parish, with young families and no hierarchy,” Bishop Gerry said.

“The Vatican Council was in session from 1962 until 1965 and we just ran with it.

“We set up the first parish council, which was served by 12 committees.

“Altogether we had 108 of the parishioners involved in active ministries, including things like liturgy, ecumenism, Social Justice and sacramental preparation.

“My delight was the Parish – I was 25 years a priest when I was ordained Bishop, and I had never been unhappy in a parish.”

Archbishop Francis Rush arrived in 1973, and in 1974, Fr Gerry was appointed as Vicar for Social Welfare.

To accommodate the extra duties involved with the role, Fr Gerry was appointed to the somewhat smaller parish of Herston.

In 1975 he was appointed as Auxiliary Bishop for Brisbane, succeeding Bishop Henry Kennedy, who had been appointed Bishop of Armidale in 1972.

He served until February 11, 2003, being joined by Bishop Eugene Cuskelly MSC from 1982 – 1996 and later Bishop Brian V. Finnigan from 2002.

From 1976 until 1988 Bishop Gerry served the church nationally as Chairman of Australian Catholic Relief.

Upon Episcopal Ordination, Bishop Gerry was the titular Bishop of Louth, a now defunct see in Ireland.

In retirement he managed to visit one of the churches and communities that had previously been a part of his see.

Retired Auxiliary Bishop Brian V Finnigan

Retired Auxiliary Bishop Brian V Finnigan, D.D

Brian Vincent Finnigan was born on 25 August 1938 at Port Fairy, Victoria. He is the youngest of twelve children, seven girls and five boys, of John Joseph Finnigan and Elizabeth Dorothy Russell.

Education: Brian was educated at Toolong State School and St Patrick’s College, Ballarat.

His studies for the priesthood began at Corpus Christi College, Werribee in 1963 and, from 1967, continued at Corpus Christi College, Glen Waverley.

He was ordained to the Priesthood on 23 May 1970 for the Diocese of Ballarat.

Postgraduate studies, commenced in 1977, were undertaken at The Catholic University of America, (Master of Church Administration), St Paul University, Ottawa, Canada (Licentiate in Canon Law and Master in Canon Law), [1990-1991].

In 1998 he was asked by the Australian Bishops conference to take up the position of General Secreatary to the Conference, a position he held until his nomination as Auxiliary Bishop to the Archdiocese of Brisbane.

As Canon law provides, no bishop can be ordained without title to a certain and distinct episcopal see which he governs either actually or potentially, therefore auxiliary bishops are titular bishops to sees (dioceses) that no longer exist.

Bishop Finnigan is the Titular Bishop of Rapido, a diocese that formerly existed in the Roman province of Mauretania (the western part of modern Algeria) in North Africa.

As required by Canon law, Bishop Finnigan tendered his resignation to the Pope upon reaching his 75th birthday in 2013. Pope Francis accepted his resignation on December 30, 2015.

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