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Death of Archbishop Francis Rush

The first Queenslander appointed as Archbishop of Brisbane, Francis Rush, has died in Brisbane at the age of 84.

Archbishop Rush, who retired from his post on December 3, 1991, was living in retirement in Brisbane.

The Catholic Communications Office said Archbishop Rush will be remembered for his contributions to the church over a 62-year career as a priest, including 40 years as archbishop.

When appointed as the Archbishop of Brisbane on 5 March 1973, the Townsville-born bishop became the first Australian and Queenslander to reach that office in the Catholic Church in Brisbane.

He held the position of President of the Australian Catholic Bishops' Conference (1983-1986). He was one of 3000 Catholic Bishops from throughout the world who attended the Second Vatican Council (October 1962 - December 1965). Ordained a Bishop only a year before the Council, Archbishop Rush spent his time as a Bishop implementing its vision in two Queensland Dioceses (Rockhampton 1961-1973 and Brisbane 1973-1991).

A time of great change in the Church, one where the Church opened up to the world, Archbishop Rush will be remembered for his stewardship in implementing the philosophy of the Council in the areas of ecumenism, the fostering of lay involvement in the Church, lay education and social welfare. Archbishop Rush led the Catholic Church of Queensland into membership of Queensland Churches Together (December 1991), the first time the Catholic Church had joined such a body.  

He will also be remembered for his foresight and vision in renovating the Cathedral of St Stephen and the Cathedral precinct (1989) which ensured that this important historical building has been maintained for future generations. The provision of green space in the Cathedral precinct, right in the heart of the business end of the city, was part of his vision of a Church that is in - and not apart from - the rest of the world.

Catholic Communications/Weekend Australian