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New Auxiliary Bishop Appointed to Brisbane

It was announced in Rome tonight that Father Joseph Oudeman OFMCap (pronounced Owderman) has been appointed as an Auxiliary Bishop to the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Brisbane.

The Archbishop of Brisbane, Most Reverend John Bathersby DD, said he welcomed the appointment of Father Oudeman.

“He has been associated with this Archdiocese over many years, and more recently has done a splendid job as Multicultural Dean, where he won the respect of Chaplains and communities alike,” Archbishop Bathersby said.

“I look forward to working with him in the future, and ask the Archdiocese to welcome him warmly and support him with their good wishes and prayers.

“He is a person of deep faith and great compassion, and a worthy replacement for Bishop John Gerry, whom the Archdiocese will miss greatly,” he said.

After 27 years as Auxiliary Bishop for Brisbane, Bishop Gerry is expected to retire in the new year.

The Bishop elect was born at Breda, The Netherlands on 2 March 1942, the eldest of five children of Johannes Oudeman and Johanna Oudeman. His parents are both deceased. The family emigrated to Australia in 1956 and all children still reside here.

Fr Oudeman’s contribution in the Archdiocese has been substantial. He was Provincial Minister of the Capuchins in Australia from 1987 until 1996. He has also been assistant pastor in the parish of Guardian Angels , Wynnum from 1997 until the present.

He was appointed Dean of Ethnic Chaplains and their communities for the Archdiocese of Brisbane in February 2001.

In response to the announcement of his appointment by the Holy Father, Fr Oudeman said “It is very hard to put into words. I accept the appointment with gratitude and trepidation and look forward to the blessings and challenge of this new ministry.”

The Archdiocese of Brisbane has been led by the Most Reverend John Bathersby since his installation as Archbishop on January 30, 1992. The Archdiocese of Brisbane is currently served by two auxiliary Bishops: the Most Reverend John Gerry DD, who was consecrated on July 29, 1975, and the Most Reverend Brian V. Finnigan DD, who was consecrated on April 8, 2002. It is expected that Bishop-elect Oudeman will be ordained a Bishop in the new year.

An auxiliary Bishop assists an Archbishop in his governance of a geographical area known as a Diocese or Archdiocese, but is also a member with him of the College of Bishops. Bishops acting in union with one another become the bond of unity whereby local Churches form one universal or Catholic Church. For Catholic’s, this college, in union with the Pope, forms the supreme authority in the Church. The role of the auxiliary Bishop, therefore, is both local and universal in its scope.

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