Bishop remembered as man of progress

MORE than a decade ago, Bishop William Brennan was asked how he thought he would be remembered.

He referred to an Italian proverb to answer the question.

“The man who does something makes mistakes sometimes, the man who does nothing makes mistakes all the time,” it translated to.

“At least I would have to be remembered as the man who didn’t make mistakes all the time,” he added.

The Wagga Catholic Diocese has been in mourning after Bishop Brennan died on Saturday, aged 75.

He lost his long battle with an illness that began after a brain aneurysm in 2002.

Tributes have flowed for a man who not only “did something”, but who had a passion for social justice, progress and God.

The fourth Bishop of Wagga, he served in the role for almost 20 years, achieving remarkable development that was sometimes met with controversy.

He is best known for the bold move of founding a diocesan seminary – Saint John Vianney College in Estella.

Well before his time in Wagga, he was handpicked as one of six Australians to study at the Urban College for the Propagation of the Faith in Rome, arriving there in 1957.

He became fluent in Italian and therefore would speak in the language during masses in Griffith and Leeton.

Yesterday, Bishop Hanna reflected on the man who preceded him.

“I took over 12 months after he left,” he said.

“The work he did we were able to build on, he was a man of vision.

“He was also committed to the idea that priests who spend their life working in country dioceses should be trained in the country and to this end, he built Vianney College.

“He showed a strong commitment to reaching out to those less fortunate than himself.”

A reception of the body and a Vigil Prayer Service will be held this Thursday at 7pm at St Michael’s Cathedral.

The Mass of Christian Burial will be held also be held at this location at 11.30am on Friday.

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