Catholic Outlook 2021: Vale Bishop Bede Heather

10 January 2022


Over the holiday break, Catholic Outlook is showcasing some of its most viewed, inspiring and thought-provoking articles from 2021. 

This year, the Diocese of Parramatta said an emotional farewell to four members of our clergy family. We invite you to read their obituaries, and we continue to pray for the repose of their souls.


Vale Bishop Bede Heather

7 December 1928 – 25 February 2021

Bishop Bede Heather, Bishop Emeritus of Parramatta has died, 25 February 2021, aged 92.

Bishop Bede was born on December 7, 1928 and ordained a priest on July 15, 1951. He retired as Bishop of Parramatta in 1997.

He was born in Strathfield, the third child of William and Alice Heather. Educated at St Patrick’s College, Strathfield, and at St Columba’s College, Springwood, he studied for the priesthood at Springwood, Manly and at Propaganda College in Rome, where he was ordained a priest at Castel Gandolfo in 1951.

After completing postgraduate studies in Sacred Scriptures, he returned to Sydney where he was Assistant Priest in the parishes of Brighton-le-Sands and Willoughby, in the Archdiocese of Sydney.

He taught biblical languages and literature at St Columba’s Seminary, Springwood, and at St Patrick’s Seminary, Manly, for a number of years.

Between 1973 and 1976 he gained experience in Africa where he taught in the Bigard Memorial Seminary, Nigeria.

Upon his return, he had short stays as Administrator at The Entrance and St Ives before taking up an appointment as leader of a pastoral team at Mt Druitt in 1977.

In 1979 he was ordained as Titular Bishop of Obbi and became an auxiliary bishop with responsibility for western Sydney. Bishop Heather was co-chairman of the Catholic/Baptist International Dialogue.

On 8 April 1986, Pope St John Paul II erected the Diocese of Parramatta and on 19 May in the same year Bishop Bede Heather took possession of St Patrick’s Cathedral in Parramatta and the Diocese of Parramatta was launched.

Bishop Bede said in his installation homily that he wanted the new Diocese to be “the face of Jesus Christ, the Good Shepherd” as it embarked on its mission.

He was succeeded by Bishop Kevin Manning (1997-2010). Bishop Anthony Fisher OP was the Third Bishop of Parramatta (2010-2014) before being appointed as Archbishop of Sydney. Bishop Vincent Long OFM Conv was appointed Bishop of Parramatta in 2016.

Bishop Heather served the Diocese of Parramatta until his resignation on 10 July 1997. In retirement, he lived on the Central Coast of NSW. His last residence was at St Ezekiel Moreno Nursing Home, Croydon.

In your charity, please pray for the Repose of the Soul of Bishop Bede and remember his family in your prayers.

RELATED: Parramatta farewells its first Bishop: Bede Heather

RELATED: Homily at the Mass of Christian Burial for Bishop Bede Heather

RELATED: Images from the funeral Mass can be accessed here

RELATED: Pope Francis’ condolences on the passing of Bishop Bede Heather


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