Friday, 23 May 2008

Bishop John Aloysius Morgan RIP

The ACBC site reports that Australia's oldest bishop, Bishop Morgan (pictured above with Archbishop Coleridge recently) died last night at the age of 98:

"Australia's first Catholic military bishop and former Auxiliary Bishop of Canberra and Goulburn John Aloysius Morgan has died. He was 98.

Bishop Morgan, who was the fifth oldest Catholic bishop in the world, died in his sleep on Wednesday night after returning from Calvary Hospital to his home at Villaggio Sant' Antonio in Canberra.

He began a long-time connection with the armed services when he became a chaplain with the Australian Army in 1941. He served in New Guinea and was present at the formal surrender of the Japanese at Wewak in September 1945.

Melbourne born, he was appointed Auxiliary Bishop of Canberra and Goulburn in March 1969. He retired as bishop in 1985, and lived at the Cathedral presbytery for 19 years. He continued to celebrate Mass regularly at the Cathedral for many years.

Funeral details are yet to be confirmed."

Bishop Morgan was a good friend to the Canberra Traditional Mass community, often saying the TLM for them in earlier times.

He was born in 1909, and ordained as a priest in Melbourne in 1934. He was appointed auxiliary bishop of Canberra Goulburn and Military Ordinary in 1969. He retired in 1985.

On his ninetieth birthday, the then Leader of the Opposition (now Chief Minister) of the ACT said:

"It is always a pleasure to meet with and talk with Bishop Morgan. His memory is as clear as a bell. He regaled us at his party with stories of his childhood. He was born in Essendon in 1909 and remains a firm fan of that particular football club.

He has an incredible memory and an incredibly recollection of the detail of incidents that occurred throughout his life.

It is wonderful to listen to Bishop Morgan speak on some of his first memories.

That he remembers troops coming home from the First World War is truly remarkable.

Bishop Morgan was confirmed by Archbishop Mannix, one of the great figures in Australian history and in the church in Australia. He is a mine of most wonderful information in relation to his life.

Bishop Morgan has, of course, devoted his life to caring for people; something that he has done nobly and incredibly well. He is one of the most humble, honest and engaging human beings I have ever met."

Though the speaker is not one I would normally quote on matters catholic, I think we can all agree with the sentiments.

Please pray for the repose of his soul.


Louise said...

Bishop Morgan was truly a holy and humble priest and bishop, with a great devotion to Our Lady. He celebrated daily Mass for the residents of his retirement village, despite his own "retirement". To look at him was to see the face of a saint. He will be greatly missed, but I am sure our blessed Mother will be holding him in her arms.

Joshua said...

His late brother, too, was a fine priest and gentleman: I met him in 1999, not long before his death, when I was doing the 30 Days' Retreat at the Jesuits in Kew. Fr Morgan, S.J., was in retirement, and very afflicted with Parkinson's, but was valiantly working until the end on a second edition of his book on the theology of light in St Ambrose. Jesuits, when they are good, are very, very good: he was praying for the Church and the Society, and I trust he continues to do so from the next world.