Our Archbishop

Archbishop Christopher Prowse

Christopher Prowse was appointed by Pope Francis as Archbishop to the Canberra Goulburn Archdiocese on September 12, 2013. Archbishop Christopher’s installation Mass at St. Christopher’s Cathedral, Canberra was held a few months later, on November 19. This was a joyous and reverent celebration marking the start of a new season for the Archdiocese. Archbishop Prowse brings many gifts to our Archdiocese and reaches out to those of all walks of life, young and old, lay and religious, to draw people closer to God and the Church.

BORN

Christopher Prowse was born the third of six children of Frank Prowse and Marian Atkinson (both deceased) on 14 November, 1953 in Melbourne, Australia.

EARLY EDUCATION

  • He attended St Francis Xavier Primary School and St Leo’s College in Box Hill.
  • Christopher was an altar server at St Francis Xavier Parish. While at St Leo’s College he enjoyed drama and public speaking and was the School Captain in 1971.

EARLY CAREER

  • He attended Corpus Christi College, Werribee in 1972 and Clayton between 1973 and 1980.
  • On 16 August, 1980, Christopher Prowse was ordained into the priesthood for the Archdiocese of Melbourne in St Patrick’s Cathedral.

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Why Priesthood

The Archbishop has written a reflective piece here on why he became a priest.

FURTHER EDUCATION

He graduated with a Bachelor of Arts Degree, from Monash University in 1978 and a Bachelor of Theology from Melbourne College of Divinity (MCD) in 1979. He obtained a Licentiate in Moral Theology (Pontifical Gregorian University, Rome, 1987) and has a Doctorate in Moral Theology (Pontifical Lateran University – Alfonsianum Academy, Rome 1995).

FROM 1979 to 2000

After serving as a Deacon at St John’s, Mitcham in 1979, Christopher Prowse was appointed Assistant Priest of St Mary of the Angels, Geelong (from 1981-83) and of St Monica’s, Moonee Ponds (1984-85). He was also Vocations’ Director throughout 1984-85.

Christopher Prowse was a Lecturer in Moral Theology at the Catholic Theological College and from 1988 he was a Priest in Residence at St Mary’s Thornbury. In 1996, he was appointed Parish Priest of Holy Spirit Parish in East Thornbury. Other appointments included Director of the Catholic Pastoral Formation Centre from 1997-2001, and from 1999 he was their Media Spokesman.

2001 AND BEYOND

  • In August 2001 Christopher was named Vicar General and Moderator of the Curia for the Archdiocese of Melbourne. He became a Member of the College of Consultors of the Archdiocese.
  • On 6 October 2001 he was appointed a Chaplain of His Holiness with the title of Monsignor.
  • On 4 April 2003, Blessed Pope John Paul II named him Titular Bishop of Bahanna and Auxiliary Bishop of Melbourne.
  • Christopher was consecrated in St Patrick’s Cathedral on 19 May 2003, and then given pastoral responsibility for the Southern Region of Melbourne.
  • From 2007 to 2009 he had pastoral responsibility for the Western Region of Melbourne and Geelong. In 2007 he became the Episcopal Vicar for Justice and Social Services, and in 2008, for Health. He was appointed to key committees organising Days in the Diocese, Melbourne and World Youth Day, Sydney.
  • In 2007 Pope Benedict XVI appointed him a Member of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, and on 18 June 2009, the same Pontiff named him Bishop of Sale. On 12 September 2013, Pope Francis appointed him Archbishop of Canberra and Goulburn Archdiocese.
  • On 27 February 2014, the Pope appointed him as a Consultor to the Holy See’s Commission for Religious Relations with the Jews.
  • Archbishop Prowse’s installation Mass was celebrated in St Christopher’s Cathedral in Canberra, on November 19, 2013.
  • Within the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference, Archbishop Prowse is a Member of the Permanent Committee and Chairman of the Commission for Ecumenism and Inter-Religious Relations.
  • Archbishop Prowse is also a Member of the Commission for Relations with Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders.

Vision for the Archdiocese

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The Catholic Archdiocese of Canberra and Goulburn is a part of the people of God found throughout the world. It is entrusted to the Archbishop as its pastor who sanctifies, teaches and governs the Archdiocese in union with the Pope.

The vision of the Archbishop with his Archdiocese is to bring all things together in the encounter with Jesus Christ. This is not achieved simplistically by applying some formula or new plan.

Indeed, “the programme already exists: it is the plan found in the Gospel and in the living Tradition, it is the same as ever. Ultimately, it has its centre in Christ himself, who is to be known, loved and imitated” (Novo Millennio Ineunte, John Paul II, 29). All are called to this life of holiness and salvation.

At the same time, however, specific pastoral initiatives are to be activated on the local level. All these are part of the work of evangelisation. They lead us to and flow from the Sacraments, especially the Eucharist.

Animated by the “loving kindness of the heart of our God” (Luke 1:78), we are to place ourselves at the merciful service of all humanity, especially the poor and marginalised.

Hopefully, my episcopal motto proposes to the entire Archdiocese and beyond our motivating vision and direction – ONLY JESUS (Solus Jesus)

Archbishop Christopher Prowse