The Holy Father has appointed Fr Kenneth Michael Howell as an Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Brisbane. The announcement was made at noon Rome time on 28 March 2017. The Auxiliary Bishop-Elect will serve alongside the Archbishop of Brisbane, Most Rev Mark Coleridge.
On behalf of the Australian bishops, ACBC President Archbishop Denis Hart welcomed the appointment. “Fr Howell has shown gifted service as liturgist, Cathedral Administrator and pastor, having recently overseen the construction and completion of the new Mary, Mother of Mercy Church in the Parish of Burleigh Heads.
“Fr Howell’s gifts, knowledge and love of people will make him a welcome and respected member of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference (ACBC), where I’ve no doubt he will provide generous service.”
On receiving the news, Fr Howell told the ACBC: “Brisbane is my home place and the Church that has nurtured my faith. It has been the great blessing of my life to serve this Church as a priest for the past 34 years. This new opportunity to serve the Brisbane Church as an auxiliary bishop, I see as both a joy and an exciting challenge.”
Fr Howell is looking to the future with confidence, “with the gifts of the Holy Spirit and the love and prayers of the people of God who have supported my ministry”. He added, “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”.
Born on 20 February 1958, Fr Howell was educated at St James College, Fortitude Valley, and joined Queensland Rail after his school years working as a clerk in the Chief Engineers Office.
In 1977, he entered Pius XII Regional Seminary, and he was ordained a priest on 24 June 1983. From 1983 to 1994, he worked as assistant priest in the parishes of Noosa Districts, Burleigh Heads and St Stephen’s Cathedral in Brisbane.
Between 1994 and 1997, Fr Howell completed a Licentiate in Sacred Liturgy at the Pontifical Institute Sant’Anselmo in Rome. He served as Secretary to the then Archbishop of Brisbane, Most Rev John Bathersby, from 1997 to 2010. During this time, Fr Howell served at the Cathedral as associate pastor and director of worship from 1997 to 2005, dean of the Cathedral between 2006 and 2012 and vice rector of Holy Spirit Seminary between 2002 and 2008. In 2009, he took on a concurrent appointment as administrator of St Mary’s Parish, South Brisbane.
In 2013 he became the Parish Priest at Burleigh Heads. The Bishop-Elect has been a longstanding member of the Council of Priests and was chairman from 2008 to 2013. He is also a member of the Archdiocesan Liturgical Commission, which he currently chairs.
The Holy Father has also accepted the resignation of Bishop Joseph Oudeman OFM Cap as Auxiliary Bishop of Brisbane. Archbishop Coleridge said, “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”.
The episcopal ordination of Bishop-Elect Howell will take place on 14 June 2017 at St Stephen’s Cathedral in Brisbane.
Published on 29 March 2017.