Pope Accepts Resignation of Broome Bishop

Most Reverend Christopher Saunders Served 25 Years as Bishop of Diocese

Broome Bishop

Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of the Most Reverend Christopher Saunders as the Bishop of the Diocese of Broome, Australia.

On the same day, August 28, 2021, the Holy Father appointed the Most Reverend Michael Morrissey, Bishop of Geraldton, as Apostolic Administrator of the Diocese of Broome, as an interim measure until such time as a new Bishop for Broome is appointed.

The Most Rev. Christopher Saunders completed schooling at St Bede’s College in Mentone, Victoria, after which he commenced studies for the priesthood with the Columban Fathers and spent three years studying philosophy.

Already interested in Aboriginal issues and involved with some Aboriginal study groups he made contact with Bishop Jobst from Broome and a short while later offered himself as a candidate for the priesthood for the Diocese of Broome.

He completed his theological studies at St Francis Xavier Seminary in Adelaide. In 1975 he worked as a Deacon in Broome and after ordination entered the priesthood. In 1976 he commenced work at La Grange Mission, moving to Lombadina Mission in 1978.

He worked as a priest at Kalumburu Mission from 1982-1988.

In 1989 he was appointed to Broome as Administrator and retained that position until 1995, interrupted only by two years of study to obtain a Licentiate in Canon Law at St Paul’s Pontifical University in Ottawa, Canada.

Bishop Saunders was ordained as a priest of the Diocese of Broome on 28 August 1976. The Bishop was consecrated as the second Bishop of the Diocese of Broome on February 8, 1996. This year he has completed 45 years as a priest of the Kimberley mission and 25 years as the Bishop of the Diocese of Broome.

During his time in office, Bishop Christopher initiated many pastoral and spiritual initiatives for the growth and betterment of the People of God in the Kimberley region. He has long established an active presence throughout the vast region and is well known to many people, Catholic and non-Catholic alike.

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Broome is a suffragan diocese of the Metropolitan Archdiocese of Perth, covering the Kimberley and Pilbara regions of Western Australia.

On May 10, 1887, it was established initially as an Apostolic Vicariate of Kimberley in Western Australia, on territory split off from the then Diocese of Perth.

On May 4, 1910, it lost territory to establish the Mission sui juris of Drisdale River, which was later renamed Kalumburu.

On November 13, 1959, it was renamed as Apostolic Vicariate of Kimberleys.

It was elevated and renamed again as a diocese of Broome on June 7, 1966.

In 1980, it regained the territory of the suppressed Mission sui juris of Kalumburu.