Fr Chris de Souza, Vicar General for the Diocese of Parramatta, has been appointed as the new General Secretary of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference (ACBC).
In an announcement shared with the Diocese today, Bishop Vincent Long OFM Conv, Bishop of Parramatta, described Fr Chris as an “excellent choice” for the Canberra-based role.
“Fr Chris is widely recognised as an outstanding spiritual leader and a dedicated pastor who has always been grounded in parish life,” Bishop Vincent said.
“Most will know Fr Chris for his pleasant and affable personality and his ability to work with and respect all people, especially those with differing viewpoints. He is a renowned pilgrimage supervisor and is well known for his spirituality, spiritual direction and discernment and his outreach to young people. I will miss his deep knowledge, wise counsel and measured approach.
“While he will be sorely missed here in the Diocese of Parramatta, I am confident that he will contribute to the mission of the Church in Australia in his new role at the Bishops Conference.
“Please join me in congratulating Fr Chris and praying for his ministry on the national stage.”
Born in Sri Lanka and moving to Sydney at a young age, Fr Chris, the Parish Priest of St Oliver Plunkett Parish, Harris Park, has been involved in the Diocese of Parramatta since its inception in 1986.
He has been appointed to numerous roles in the Diocese including as the Director of Vocation and Formation from 1993 to 2003 and in 1994, he was appointed Director of Deacons and Students. Between 1998 and 2011, he was Director of Prison Chaplains, and in 1998, he was appointed Episcopal Vicar for Formation. In 2003 he was appointed Parish Priest of St Nicholas or Myra Parish, Penrith.
In 2012, Fr Chris was appointed Vicar General, Episcopal Vicar for Education, Vice Rector of Seminary, and in 2014 was appointed Parish Priest of Harris Park. He was reappointed Vicar General in 2016 and Episcopal Vicar for Education and Formation.
Fr Chris said he was “honoured” to be selected as the new General Secretary.
“This role is somewhat daunting, but I am invigorated by the culture and legacy that Fr Stephen Hackett MSC and all the staff of the ACBC have created,” he said.
“I am looking forward to this new challenge and would like to thank Bishop Vincent Long for his support and pastoral care as I take this next step, and all previous Bishops of the Diocese of Parramatta.
“I will miss working with all my colleagues, clergy, and friends in the Diocese of Parramatta, but look forward to my visits back home.”
Fr Chris replaces the current General Secretary of the Conference, Fr Stephen Hackett MSC, who was recently elected provincial superior of the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart in Australia.
Fr Chris will commence his new role in Canberra in August.
The Diocese congratulates Fr Chris on this new appointment, and pray for him in this pivotal role in the mission and ministry of the Catholic Church in Australia.
Read and download Bishop Vincent’s announcement letter on Fr Chris’ appointment here.