Rest in Peace, “Bishop Joe”

I was very sad to learn yesterday of the sudden and untimely death of Bishop Joe Grech of the Sandhurst (aka Bendigo) Diocese. This is the report in the Bendigo Advertiser:

29 Dec, 2010 09:10 AM
THE Catholic community is mourning the sudden death of Bishop of Sandhurst Joseph Grech.
Bishop Grech died in St Vincent’s Hospital at 3pm yesterday after a short illness.

Monsignor Frank Marriott was among a group of eight Church leaders, family and community members with 62-year-old Bishop Grech when he died.

Bishop Grech became ill on Thursday afternoon and was admitted to St Vincent’s Hospital, but his condition further deteriorated yesterday morning.

“There was a little community of about eight people praying for him between 11am and 3pm and those eight people were present when he died,” Monsignor Marriott said.

Bishop Grech was born in Malta and came to Australia in 1971.

He was installed as Bishop of Sandhurst in April 2001, having previously been an

Auxiliary Bishop in Melbourne, under now Cardinal George Pell. Monsignor Marriott said Bishop Grech would be especially missed by the youth of the dioceses, who would remember him by his words.

“He had a famous saying for the young people,” he said.

“‘God doesn’t make rubbish.’ There is good in all ourselves and we have to pull up and find it.

“All the kids would know him by that saying. It’s an epitaph for him.”

Also by his side was Melbourne’s Archbishop Denis Hart, who said the bishop’s death was a great loss for the Church.

“Since his priestly ordination in 1974, he worked with great distinction as a priest in Melbourne and as a Bishop in Melbourne and Sandhurst,” he said.

“For Bishop Joe, the good news was always light and joy for humanity.”

St Kilian’s parish administrator Rom Hayes also paid tribute to Bishop Grech and said it would bring great shock and deep sadness to those who knew him. “He was known as Bishop Joe and that’s what he liked to be called,’’ he said.

“He wasn’t one to stand on ceremony and that says a lot about the sort of man he was.

“He was thoughtful, outgoing and very concerned for people. He poured himself into his work and never backed off.

“I’ll remember him as warm and caring and passionate about the things he believed in.”

Rest in Peace, “Bishop Joe”.

About Schütz

I am a PhD candidate & sessional academic at Australian Catholic University in Melbourne, Australia. After almost 10 years in ministry as a Lutheran pastor, I was received into the Catholic Church in 2003. I worked for the Archdiocese of Melbourne for 18 years in Ecumenism and Interfaith Relations. I have been editor of Gesher for the Council of Christians & Jews and am guest editor of the historical journal “Footprints”. I have a passion for pilgrimage and pioneered the MacKillop Woods Way.
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One Response to Rest in Peace, “Bishop Joe”

  1. adam george says:

    I have been wondering about the ranting diatribe of Rev EH in The Swag which was quoted here where the man blasted every pope in recent memory especially John Paul II. And then i thought what would happen if every bishop in his own diocese blasted publicly every priest in his diocese. What what happen to morale there and how would the people react? Did EH think of that scenario when he attacked the popes, none of whom he had met I suspect.
    But re the death of the great pastor Bishop Joe Grech appointed by JPII. This man was a great and much admired and hard-working bishop who gave his life for Christ his Lord, cut short in just a few days and now with Him. Has EH ever praised the good and holy bishops in Australia who lead their flocks? Or does he just continue to live in retirement (cf Benedict XVI at 84 still working) throwing out barbs at men called by God and who endeavour to preach the faith of the Apostles.

    May Bishop Joseph rest in peace. I’m sure the people of Bendigo and far beyond will be praying for him and thanking him for his inspired leadership.

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