Archbishop Mark Coleridge today announced the passing of Bishop John Gerry, Emeritus Auxiliary of Brisbane.
“At 7am today, Bishop John Gerry died peacefully in Holy Spirit Hospital after a short illness,” Archbishop Coleridge said.
“We have been richly blessed by his 67 years of priesthood and 42 years as a Bishop. May he rest in peace and rise in glory.
“We offer our prayers and sympathy to Bishop John’s family and friends and to the many to whom he ministered so well for so long.”
Bishop Gerry was born and raised in Brisbane and educated at Mercy Convent and Marist Brothers College, Rosalie. He was ordained as a Priest in Rome on 21st December, 1950.
He served the Archdiocese with stints as Parish Priest at Coolangatta / Burleigh Heads, St Stephen’s Cathedral, Stafford and Herston. He was Episcopally ordained on 29th July, 1975, becoming the first Queensland-trained priest to be consecrated as a Bishop.
At an Archdiocesan level, Bishop Gerry held office as Vicar General and Vicar for Social Welfare.
At a national level he held office as the Chairman of Australian Catholic Relief (now called Caritas Australia).
He also distinguished himself with service as a member of the Social Welfare and Health Care committees of the Australian Bishops’ Conference and the Christian World Service Commission of the National Council of Churches. Internationally he acted as the Executive of the Federation of Catholic Bishops’ Conferences of Oceania.
Bishop Gerry was a driving force for Centacare – the Archdiocese’s social services arm. In 1974, he was appointed Vicar for Social Welfare with a commission from Archbishop Francis Rush “to be in contact with and available to all institutions and agencies in the Archdiocese associated with welfare”.
That commission evolved into Centacare, which continues today operating with a focus on social justice that reflects many of the values of Bishop Gerry.
In an interview in 2015, to mark 40 years since his Episcopal ordination, Bishop Gerry told The Catholic Leader: “Mary MacKillop’s words that ‘gratitude is the memory of the heart’ often come to me. I am filled with joy and gratitude for my ministry as a priest to God’s people as I reflect back on what has been a life of many blessings.”
Funeral details will be advised shortly.
Bishop John Gerry
1 June 1927 – 13 December 2017
1942-1946: Studies for priesthood at Pius XII Seminary, Banyo
1946-1951: Studies continue at College of the Propagation of the Faith, Rome
21 December 1950: Ordination to the priesthood
Parish work in the Archdiocese of Brisbane
1951-1955: Coolangatta / Burleigh Heads Assistant Priest
1956-1961: Cathedral, Assistant Priest
1962-1974: Stafford, Parish Priest
1975: Herston, Parish Priest
1974: Appointed Vicar for Social Welfare
29 July 1975: Consecrated Bishop
1975-2003: Auxiliary Bishop of Brisbane