The Holy Father Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of Bishop Brian Heenan of Rockhampton. The Bishop turned 75 in August 2012.
Bishop Brian Heenan was born on 4 August, 1937 and grew up in Ashgrove, Brisbane. He was educated at Marist College and attended Pius XII Seminary in Banyo.
Bishop Heenan was ordained to the priesthood on 29 June 1962. He was appointed Bishop on 23 July 1991 by Pope John Paul II and on 25 September was ordained by Archbishop Francis Rush in St Joseph’s Cathedral in Rockhampton.
Archbishop Denis Hart, president of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference, spoke warmly of Bishop Heenan.
“Since 1991 Bishop Heenan has used his special gifts with compassion for many people in Rockhampton and beyond. He has shown great generosity and friendship to me and to the bishops in working for the people of Australia. We wish him every blessing for the future”, he said.
Bishop Heenan speaks well of his time in the Diocese, and found his ministry was enriched by the people he served.
“The Diocese of has three major coastal cities, Bundaberg, Rockhampton and Mackay, with larger regional centres at Emerald and Longreach, and with many smaller vibrant communities.
“Getting to know the different aspects of the Diocese was extremely interesting. From the rural areas of agriculture, the cattle and sheep industries, across to the coastal belt with its focus on the sugarcane industry, and with the mining industry touching many parts of the Diocese I have learned so much”, he said.
“There has been an incredible variety of activity in the diocese. The wonderful people in all of those areas simply taught me so much about their lives, their own ministries and their love for the church and their communities.”
Bishop Heenan served on a number of Commissions of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference and remembers these with fondness.
“The last Commission I served on was Church Ministry. I was also on the Commission for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People. My final work was as the Chair of the Commission for Church Ministry, which has in its portfolio the Office for the Participation of Women, Professional Standards, Clergy Life and Ministry and Lay Pastoral Ministry. These were all areas in which I have had a special interest in. I was assisted by the wonderful people who work for those offices, and I hope that I was able to serve faithfully in this role”, he said.
Bishop Heenan will retire to Brisbane to be closer to his family.