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The church mourns the loss of Bishop Michael Putney

In a message released this morning (Friday March 28) from the Vicar General, Rev Msgr Peter Meneely, he advised the people of the Archdiocese of Brisbane of the sad news of the death of Bishop Michael Putney, Bishop of Townsville and formerly a priest and Auxiliary Bishop of Brisbane.

“We extend our sympathy and prayers to Bishop Putney’s family, the priests, religious and people of the Diocese of Townsville,” Rev Msgr Meneely said.

Archbishop Mark Coleridge, who is a close friend of the late Bishop Putney, is returning from a pilgrimage to the middle east and should make comment in the coming days.

The Townsville Catholic Diocese were first to unveil the sad news when they posted on their Facebook page this morning:

“It is with sadness that we announce that Bishop Michael Putney AM DD died peacefully in the early hours this morning. He was diagnosed with terminal cancer in December 2012 and has been an inspiration of faith during this time. Many prayers have been made during this time and in his words “last year was my miracle.”Eternal rest, grant unto him O Lord and let perpetual light shine upon him.”

The Dean of Brisbane’s Cathedral of St Stephen, Rev David Pascoe, presided at the 12.30pm Mass and especially remembered him in prayer. His brief sermon touched upon the readings for the day (Hosea 14:2-10 and the Gospel according to Mark 12:28-34).

“The prophet Hosea exhorts the wise and intelligent person to listen to God’s word. Then in the Gospel Jesus sees the scribe who comes to him and questions him as a wise man, a wise scribe. I knew Bishop Michael, who I think of as a wise scribe, as many of us have. I first met him as a teacher of mine in Theology. Over the years he became a friend. He was a friend and mentor to many. There will be many words spoken of him in the days to come, but these readings today seem quite apt all of a sudden. The wise scribe, the wise and intelligent man who taught a few generations of people theology in this place. A man who in the last 18 months or so, in his wisdom, gave his heart , his understanding and his strength in love to God. It’s not that he hadn’t done it before but when he knew he was dying he grasped again, in a whole new way, his identity before the God he loved. And loved his people in doing so. So we give thanks this day for Michael’s life; for the many gifts that he had and the gift that he has been for us and, as I said to a few people this morning, ‘the gift that he will be on the other side’. We give thanks for a blessed life, for a blessed man, a wise and intelligent scribe,” Fr Pascoe said.

The details for Bishop Putney’s funeral in Townsville are yet to be determined.


Released by the Archdiocesan Communications Office

March 28, 2014

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