Leadership

The Archdiocese of Canberra and Goulburn is led by Archbishop Christopher Prowse, with the assistance of Vicar General, Fr Richard Thompson, and the Vicar for Education, Dr Patrick McArdle; Episcopal Vicar for Social Services and Welfare, Monsignor John Woods; and Episcopal Vicar for New Frontiers, Fr Tony Percy.

christopher prowse

Archbishop Christopher Prowse

Archbishop Christopher Prowse was officially installed as the seventh Archbishop of the Canberra and Goulburn Archdiocese on November 19, 2013.

For more information about Archbishop Christopher, visit Our Archbishop.

 Vicar General Fr. Richard  Thompson

Fr Richard was born at Cootamundra and from his family’s rural property near Stockinbingal he attended the local schools before undertaking a cadetship with the Temora Independent newspaper. Subsequently, he briefly taught skiing at Mt Hutt in New Zealand and after returning to Australia jointly operated a hotel at Wagga Wagga. After two years, he resumed studies at Trinity College in Wagga before entering St Patrick’s Seminary in Manly to study for the priesthood.

Fr Richard graduated from St Patrick’s in 1984 with degrees in Theology and Philosophy. He was ordained priest for the Archdiocese of Canberra and Goulburn in 1985. His initial appointment was to Young and then as the Director of Chaplaincy at Royal Canberra and Woden Valley hospitals, where he also began further studies. He subsequently gained master’s degrees in Psychology and in Business Administration.

Fr Richard joined the Royal Australian Navy Reserves as a chaplain in 1988 and became a full-time RAN chaplain in 1990. He served in all the major Australian Navy units, including a deployment in the first Gulf War, and also on exchange with the Royal Navy, the US Navy and the Royal Canadian Navy. In 2003 Fr Richard was awarded the Conspicuous Service Medal for his role as a Coordinating Chaplain in Bali following the terrorist attacks.

As Senior Chaplain he taught at the Australian Defence Force Academy (ADFA) and also in Britain at the Royal Navy’s Apprenticeship School at Gosport. He studied at the United States Navy’s Leadership College at Newport, Rhode Island. He has lectured in Leadership and Management, Trauma Management and Ethics and Leadership. He was the RAN’s Senior Chaplain to Navy Systems Command when he retired in 2005.

From 2005 to 2013 he was parish priest of St. Mary’s in Young NSW. In this time he was appointed as Dean for the Western Deanery of the Archdiocese. He became Parish Priest of South Woden on 1 January 2014. Fr Richard was appointed and installed as a Chaplain to the Military and Hospitaller Order of St Lazarus of Jerusalem (ChLJ) in 2016. On 11th February 2016 Archbishop Prowse appointed Fr Richard as the Dean of the (Central) Canberra Deanery. He currently serves on various Archdiocesan Boards including the College of Consultors, Council of Priests, Trustees of the Archdiocese and the Professional Standards Advisory Board. He was appointed Dean in July 2020, for the newly formed Southern Deanery in the Archdiocese.

In October 2022 Archbishop Christopher Prowse appointed Fr Richard as Vicar General for the Catholic Archdiocese of Canberra and Goulburn from January 2023.

Fr Richard has continued his interests in skiing and his other interests include travel, sailing, cycling, music and the arts.