Archbishop Philip Wilson – requiescat in pace
Our former Principal Chaplain, Archbishop Philip Wilson, was called to God yesterday, Sunday.
He was the former Bishop of Wollongong and Archbishop of Adelaide as well as a former president of the Australian Catholic Bishops’ Conference. He performed his duties as our Principal Chaplain with energy, grace, distinction and respect from our members for the work he did for the Order. He will be greatly missed.
Born in the Hunter region, a young Philip Wilson studied at St Columba’s College, Springwood and St Patrick’s College Manly before being ordained a priest of the Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle.
Later, after his ordination as Bishop of Wollongong in 1996, he became an important figure in introducing reforms to help the Catholic Church respond to the issue of child sexual abuse.
Archbishop Wilson helped draft a new Church policy to deal nationally with abuse victims and perpetrators, Towards Healing.
He was appointed Archbishop of Adelaide in 2001 – another milestone in his 45 years of priestly ministry.
Archbishop Wilson also served as president of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference for two terms, from 2006 to 2010.
Please pray for the repose of his soul.
A reflection from one of our members:
I was greatly saddened by the news, it was as if I had been hit forcibly in the chest. From my personal interactions with His Grace, I had developed a great love for him as a man, one of God’s faithful priests, and a staunch Member of our Order.
We were lucky to have lived in the same city, so that those of us in the South Australian branch saw quite a lot of His Grace.
Every year we would have our Order’s Day of Reflection, over which His Grace would preside. This was usually held at the Sisters of St Joseph Convent Chapel, a truly beautiful chapel. His Grace would celebrate mass for us, and then put one or two spiritual questions to us. We would consider these – in this beautiful chapel – and then be lead to the appropriate conclusion by his outstanding knowledge of the Gospels and his love of Our LORD.
This would be then followed by a splendid morning tea, the highlight of which was Dame Mary Kennedy’s excellent cake.
That evening, members and wives, would be entertained by His Grace at dinner at his residence in Adelaide, with interesting discussions and wonderful fellowship.
I came to know His Grace more personally after I came to realise that our Australian Members needed a prayer book, similar to that published by the British Association. I discussed this with Greg Crafter, who suggested that I meet His Grace, and discuss this with him.
This started a series of meetings at Archbishop’s House, where the two of us discussed what such a book should contain, the way in which it should focus on our LORD, and how it should lead those in our Order to a closer relationship with our God.
I could not have had a better ‘Prayer Book Mentor” than His Grace. ‘A Spiritual Companion’ is really a memorial to this wonderful man and his love of God.
I am greatly saddened by his death.
He was an outstanding man of God who deserved better treatment and understanding from those he served.