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Secretary to Bishops gets mitre himself

His Holiness Pope John Paul II has appointed Reverend Father Brian Vincent Finnigan, until now Secretary of the Australian Catholic Bishops' Conference, Auxiliary Bishop of Brisbane, assigning to him at the same time the Titular See* of Rapido. The news has been released by the Apostolic Nuncio, Archbishop Francesco Canalini on 31 January 2002.

Fr Finnigan was born on 25 August 1938 at Port Fairy, Victoria. He is the youngest of twelve children - seven girls and five boys - of John Joseph Finnigan and Elizabeth Dorothy Russell. Three sisters entered the Institute of the Sisters of the Good Samaritan of the Order of St Benedict: Sr Marcia (dec), Sr Dorothy, Coragulac, Victoria and Sr Kathleen, Hamilton, Victoria. Seven members of the family are deceased.

On 23 May 1970 Fr Brian was ordained a priest for the Diocese of Ballarat, by the late Bishop James P O'Collins, in the Port Fairy Theatre. Before moving to his present appointment with the Australian Catholic Bishops' Conference in 1998 Fr Brian worked in the Diocese of Ballarat apart from periods of study overseas. In his previous work the Bishop-elect has shown an interest in ecumenical endeavours having been the Ballarat Diocesan Representative on the Victorian Council of Churches, a Member of the Anglican/Roman Catholic Commission, a Member of the Roman Catholic/Uniting Church Dialogue Group and a Member of the Ballarat Council of Churches.

In a statement last night following his appointment Fr Finnigan said: "I feel overwhelmed and privileged at being appointed by the Holy Father to assist Archbishop Bathersby and serve the Archdiocese of Brisbane, in company with Bishop Gerry. I look forward to working with the priests of the Archdiocese, many of whom I know well, the religious and the people of the Archdiocese so that we might all grow in faith, hope, trust, peace and service in this significant time in the life of the Church and the world. I am looking forward to living in Brisbane and the State of Queensland."

*What is a Titular See? Bishops without a territorial or residential diocese of their own; e.g., auxiliary bishops, are given titular sees. This is a diocese where the Church once flourished but which today exists only in name or title. There are more than 2,000 titular sees in the world.

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