Society Matters | Volume 32 No. 1 | Autumn 2022

Volume 32 No. 1 | Autumn 2022 8 Society Matters Former SVD Provincial appointed a bishop for Brisbane Pope Francis has appointed Society of the Divine Word priest and former Provincial of the Australia Province, Fr Tim Norton SVD as an auxiliary bishop in the Archdiocese of Brisbane. Fr Tim, who has been in ministry in Italy, joins Auxiliary Bishop Ken Howell in supporting Archbishop Mark Coleridge in serving the Catholics of Brisbane Archdiocese. Born and raised in Sydney, Fr Tim made his first profession in 1986 and was ordained to the priesthood in 1991. He describes several years of religious formation and priestly ministry in Mexico as “very formative for him”. Fr Tim also spent time before and after ordination living and working with people in Sydney’s Cana Community who often live on the streets, struggling with mental illness and addiction. He trained as a physiotherapist before entering religious life, and he continues to see that as part of his ministry. “In my life there’s been a growing awareness that I’ve been attracted to be with people who are different to me. When I was in the seminary as a physiotherapist, I looked for and found a job in Pentridge Prison. I also worked at the Aboriginal Medical Service in Melbourne,” he said. Since June 2020, Fr Tim, who speaks English, Spanish and Italian, has been working full-time with consecrated women and men promoting interculturality, something the Divine Word Missionaries and Sister Servants of the Holy Spirit are renowned for, including in Australia. Fr Tim said ministry with multicultural parish communities is an important way the SVD is already involved in Brisbane Archdiocese. While head of the Australian province, he worked with Archbishop Coleridge to establish a Divine Word Missionary presence in two parishes. “The SVD are active in the parishes of Inala and KingstonMarsden, both very multicultural, and therefore places where the SVD confreres do their best work,” he said. Fr Tim also worked with the local St Vincent de Paul Society in arranging for one of the SVD’s properties in Brisbane to serve as a shelter for people fleeing abusive relationships. In almost 40 years of ministry, Fr Tim has also held key roles in SVD seminaries and has spent most of the past eight years in Nemi, near Rome, running renewal programs for priests and brothers. Fr Tim said he would bring to his ministry in Brisbane “an intense interest in culture, and the mission of God in the world, whatever shape or form that may take”. SVD Provincial, Fr Asaeli Rass, said Fr Tim will be “an exciting and extremely capable bishop”. “As a missionary and a former Provincial, he will bring to this ministry a wealth of experience in Church leadership both at the universal and local level. At this time when the Church in Australia, through the Plenary Council, is striving to become a more missionary Church, inclusive, merciful and compassionate, Tim’s personal gifts and missionary experience are right for the times,” Fr Rass said. “Tim will be the first SVD member to be appointed a bishop in Australia and his appointment is an occasion of great joy and thanksgiving for the Province.” A Newsletter of the Divine Word Missionaries Inc - Australia Province Donations to the SVD AUS Province Overseas Aid Fund can be made online at or by mailing to DivineWord Missionary Appeal Office, Locked Bag 3, Epping NSW, 1710, Australia. +61 2 9868 9015 @svdaus Society Matters