Fr Stephen Hackett, a priest of the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart, has been appointed the new General Secretary of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference.
The Australian bishops announced the decision during their plenary meeting at Mary MacKillop Place, Sydney on Tuesday 24 November 2015.
Fr Hackett, who is currently parish priest in Tasmania, will commence his new role in early 2016 following the appointment of Fr Brian Lucas as National Director of Catholic Mission. Fr Lucas has been General Secretary since August 2002.
Congratulating Fr Hackett on his appointment, Archbishop Denis Hart, President, Australian Catholic Bishops Conference, said, ‘The Australian bishops searched the length and breath of the country to appoint a priest who would manage and lead the Conference and the General Secretariat staff with a depth of administrative and pastoral experience.
‘I believe Stephen has tremendous gifts and energy and will serve the Church well. I am deeply grateful to Father Stephen and to the MSCs for this great support.’
Following the announcement, Fr Hackett said, ‘I was surprised to be asked by the Australian bishops to take on the role of general secretary, I was not expecting the invitation. I am excited about the opportunity and I thank the bishops for the confidence they have placed in me’.
Born in 1959, Fr Hackett was professed to the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart in 1982 and was ordained in 1986.
Fr Hackett has ministered in parishes, diocesan governance, secondary education, university chaplaincy, and the vocations apostolate. His primary academic qualification is in theology, with postgraduate awards in peace studies and education, and a doctorate specialising in architecture and liturgy.
Studying for a Bachelor of Theology at Melbourne College of Divinity, a Masters of Literature and a Masters of Education from the University of New England, Fr Hackett achieved a Ph.D from University of New South Wales in 2011. His thesis was on, ‘The architecture of liturgy: Liturgical ordering in church design; the Australian experience in perspective’.
Fr Hackett is currently Parish Priest at St Therese of Lisieux Parish, Moonah-Lutana, Archdiocese of Hobart. From 2011 to 2013, he was Parish Priest at St Thomas the Apostle Parish, Camp Hill, Archdiocese of Brisbane. Between 2005 and 2008, Fr Hackett was the Vicar General in the Diocese of Darwin.
In 2001 and 2002, Fr Hackett was the Catholic Chaplain at the University of New South Wales, Sydney and prior to this appointment, he was Vocations Director for the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart, Australian Province, and Superior of the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart, Hamilton, Victoria.
Since 2010, Fr Hackett has chaired the National Liturgical Architecture and Art Board and joined the National Liturgical Council in 2012, both advisory bodies to the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference.
In February this year, Fr Hackett organised ‘God is in the detail: Making architecture and art for Catholic worship’, a national symposium of National Liturgical Architecture and Art Board in collaboration with the Australian Catholic University.
Fr Hackett’s current research interests include church architecture and the liturgical arts. His personal and professional interests include theology, liturgy, education, the interplay between faith and culture, poetry, figurative religious art, music, design, and architecture.