Fr Ken Howell has been appointed as an Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Brisbane.
Pope Francis tonight made the announcement, appointing Fr Howell to serve alongside Archbishop of Brisbane Mark Coleridge.
At the same time, Pope Francis accepted the resignation of Auxiliary Bishop of Brisbane Joseph Oudeman OFMCap. Bishop Oudeman had submitted his resignation letter to Pope Francis after reaching the retirement age of 75.
Archbishop Coleridge praised Bishop Oudeman for his service while welcoming the appointment of Fr Howell.
Archbishop Coleridge said: “After a long wait, the Archdiocese of Brisbane gives thanks to God for the appointment of Fr Ken Howell as the new Auxiliary Bishop. We are grateful that Pope Francis has chosen a gifted man of wide experience to serve as bishop at this complex time.
“Ordained a priest of Brisbane, Fr Ken worked closely with Archbishop John Bathersby before undertaking liturgical studies in Rome. He later served as Vice-Rector of Holy Spirit Seminary before being appointed Dean of the Cathedral. He was then appointed Parish Priest of Burleigh Heads where he has recently completed the building of the new church.
“He has also served on various Archdiocesan councils and commissions which has given him a thorough knowledge of the Archdiocese. He is well equipped to give fine service not only to the Archdiocese but also to the Queensland Bishops and the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference.”
Fr Howell will be ordained bishop in St Stephen’s Cathedral on 14 June. Archbishop Coleridge said Bishop-elect Howell would then be appointed Parish Priest of Kangaroo Point, residing at the East Brisbane presbytery.
“Our prayers are with him as he looks to ordination and beyond,” Archbishop Coleridge said.
Fr Howell, who has two brothers and a sister, was educated in Catholic schools in Brisbane before working as a clerk for Queensland Rail. He entered the seminary in 1977.
Fr Howell has overseen the construction of Burleigh Waters’ new Mary, Mother of Mercy Church, which was consecrated earlier this month.
Fr Howell said: “Brisbane is the place of my birth and the Church that has nurtured my faith. It has been the great blessing of my life to have served this Church as a priest for the past 34 years.
“The opportunity to serve the Brisbane church as an auxiliary bishop I see as both a joy and an exciting challenge. Through the gifts of the Holy Spirit and with the love and prayers of the people of God who have supported my ministry, I can look to the future with confidence.
“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.”
Archbishop Coleridge said Bishop Oudeman had made a strong contribution to the Archdiocese.
“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,” Archbishop Coleridge said.