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Archbishop Bathersby’s decision on St Mary’s, South Brisbane

The Catholic Archbishop of Brisbane, the Most Rev John Bathersby DD, has announced his decision on the future pastoral care of St Mary’s Parish at South Brisbane.

Archbishop Bathersby said that, barring resignation from the parish by Fr Kennedy beforehand, he will cancel Fr Kennedy’s appointment as administrator of St Mary’s Parish effective from Saturday February 21, 2009.

From that date, the Archbishop will assure the pastoral care of the Parish by placing it under the oversight of the Cathedral Parish. The Dean of the Cathedral, Fr Ken Howell, will be appointed as administrator of St Mary’s Parish from February 21, 2009 until a new permanent Administrator can be appointed.

Regular masses at 7.00am and 9.00am will be celebrated from Sunday February 22, 2009. These Mass times will be reviewed in the near future. Other sacraments of the Church will also be available and can be arranged through the Dean of the Cathedral Parish.

Churchgoers currently attached to St Mary’s are most welcome to continue worshipping there from February 22, 2009, as well as those wishing to return or become new parishioners.

For people concerned about the validity of Baptisms performed at St Mary’s in recent years, either for children or adults, the Archbishop will nominate a future date on which valid baptisms can be performed at the Cathedral and Baptism Certificates can be issued both to parents of the children or to adult converts.

The Archbishop said he had taken this decision reluctantly after changes he had repeatedly asked for had not been made by the administrator or the community.

“After a long period of prayer, reflection and discernment in which I gave consideration to both the pastoral needs of the parish and the importance of the parish’s communion with both the Archdiocese of Brisbane and the Universal Church, I have advised Fr Peter Kennedy that, unless he resigns beforehand, I will be cancelling his appointment from Saturday February 21, 2009 and appointing Fr Howell as Administrator of the Parish for the time being,” Archbishop Bathersby said.

The Archbishop has advised Fr Kennedy that if he wishes to retire from active service as a priest, he will be assisted in the same fashion as any other retired Archdiocesan priest.

If Fr Kennedy wishes to establish his own Christian community, he cannot be stopped by the Archbishop, but those that follow him should do so in the full knowledge the group is not in communion with the Roman Catholic Church or the Archdiocese of Brisbane.

The Archbishop concluded by saying that taking this decision gave him no satisfaction at all as the separation of Christians is contrary to all that Christ prayed for.

He has asked for all the priests, deacons and people of the Archdiocese of Brisbane to continue seeking the prayerful support of Mary the Mother of Jesus for the healing of the Archdiocese and St Mary’s Parish.

Released by The Catholic Communications Office

February 8, 2009

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