Diocese honours legacy of its first Bishop, Bishop Bede Heather

25 February 2024

Today we remember the Diocese of Parramatta’s first Bishop, Bishop Bede Heather, on the anniversary of his passing three years ago.  

As an Auxiliary Bishop for the Archdiocese of Sydney, Bishop Bede was entrusted to lead the newest diocese in Australia, which he did through his model of servant leadership from April 1986 to July 1997 until he retired.  

As one who knew the people of Western Sydney well, Bishop Bede said in his installation homily that wanted the new diocese to be “the face of Jesus Christ, the Good Shepherd” as it embarked on its mission. He lived this during his ministry and led by example, He emphasising compassion, inclusivity, and service.  

His foresight and dedication were evident in the institutions, programs and initiatives he introduced, including   the Marriage Tribunal and Confraternity for Christian Doctrine to the Finance Committee, Catholic Care, and Catholic Education, now Catholic Schools Parramatta Diocese. His groundwork is the reason for the Diocese’s current structure and extensive outreach. 

Pope Francis commended Bishop Heather’s service in his condolence note: “Recalling with gratitude the late Bishop’s years of service to the Church in Parramatta, particularly his concern for educating the young, His Holiness commends his soul to the mercy of Almighty God” 

Bishop Vincent Long, was inspired by Bishop Bede’s simplicity, his strong faith and leadership style that he said was “prophetic”.  

“I asked him if he had a spiritual director,” said Bishop Vincent of one of his visits to Bishop Bede. “He pointed to the Bible and said, ‘That is my spiritual director’”. 

Bishop Heather passed away on 25 February 2021, aged 92. Please continue to pray for all bishops and our clergy.  

Read more about Bishop Bede Heather here: https://catholicoutlook.org/a-diocese-farewells-its-first-bishop-bishop-bede-heather/ 

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