New Vicar General announced for the Archdiocese of Perth

16 Feb 2024

By Jamie O'Brien

Archbishop Costelloe speaks with Episcopal Vicar for Education and Faith Formation, the Very Rev Fr Vincent Glynn. Photo: Archdiocese of Perth.

The Archdiocese of Perth has a new Vicar General.

Episcopal Vicar for Education and Faith Formation, the Very Rev Fr Vincent Glynn will take over from current Vicar General, the Very Rev Fr Peter Whitely at the end of March following his retirement.

Fr Peter has been in the role since 2013 and retires following his turning 75 in March 2022; the standard retirement age for priests and clergy.

In the Catholic Church, the Vicar General is a priest who is appointed by the diocesan bishop to assist in the administration and governance of the whole diocese.

Once appointed, the Vicar General is to act with the mind of the diocesan bishop with respect to the scope of the authority of his ecclesiastical functions.  

In announcing the retirement of Fr Peter Whitely, Perth Archbishop Timothy Costelloe SDB paid tribute to Fr Peter’s dedication and commitment.

Fr Peter has been Vicar General since 2013 and retires following his turning 75 in March 2022; the standard retirement age for priests and clergy. Photo: Michelle Tan.

“Fr Peter has dedicated himself to this difficult role for eleven years with the commitment, pastoral sensitivity, common sense and fidelity which have always marked his life as a priest of our archdiocese.

“We all owe him a great debt of gratitude and I am very happy to place my own sense of deep gratitude to him on record as I share this news with you.

Hailing originally from East Fremantle, Fr Peter was ordained by the late Archbishop Launcelot Goody at St Thomas Church, Claremont in September 1972.

In 1986, Fr Whitely was assigned the challenging task of becoming the founding Parish Priest of the Bateman Parish where he oversaw the building of the parish’s first church in 1992.

In 1997, he moved to All Saints Church in Greenwood where he remained for more than five years and followed this in 2003 with 10 years as Parish Priest of Applecross, where he once again oversaw the building of the first church building in 2008.

Speaking about the retirement of Fr Peter Whitely and the appointment of Fr Vincent, Archbishop Costelloe highlighted that leadership in the Church, at all levels, is becoming increasingly complex and challenging as each year passes.

Hailing originally from East Fremantle, Fr Peter was ordained by the late Archbishop Launcelot Goody at St Thomas Church, Claremont in September 1972. Photo: Michelle Tan.

“This is certainly true at the level of parish leadership and is equally true at the level of diocesan leadership,” Archbishop Costelloe explained.

“In the case of the role of Vicar General, the reality is that much of the VG’s time is spent responding to problems and complaints.

“Every issue which comes to the Office of the Vicar General must be dealt with as proactively, compassionately and justly as possible,” he said.

“Some issues are more complex than others, some need careful examination and research, and some involve highly confidential matters which cannot be shared with others.”

The eldest of six children, a Fr Vincent attended early primary school firstly at Our Lady of Lourdes Nollamara and then as a foundation student at the new parish of St Gerard Majella, Mirrabooka in 1965, graduating from the former CBHS Highgate in 1975.

In 1976, he began studying for the priesthood at St Charles’ Seminary in Guildford and completed his training at St Francis Xavier Seminary in Adelaide.

He was ordained a priest in December 1982 by Archbishop Lancelot Goody in St Mary’s Cathedral, Perth and went on to serve in the parishes of Carlisle, Leederville, Kalgoorlie-Boulder, Nollamara, Embleton, and Floreat-Wembley.

It was upon the completion of his Licentiate in Sacramental Theology from the Pontifical University of Sant’Anselmo in Rome in 1991 and upon his return to Perth that Fr Glynn found his priestly ministry in the areas of education and faith formation.

In 2020, he became the inaugural Episcopal Vicar for Education and Faith Formation, having been a Senior Lecturer in Sacramental Theology at Notre Dame University Fremantle for the 11 years prior.

From 1999 to 2005, Fr Vincent the Director of the Maranatha Institute for Adult Faith Education (now the Centre for Faith Enrichment).

In 2011, after several years of part-time study, he gained a Bachelor of Laws degree from UNDA, a degree that he said broadened his understanding of many things and that he really enjoyed doing.

Outgoing Vicar General, the Very Rev Fr Peter Whitely VG, with incoming Vicar General, the Very Rev Fr Vincent Glynn during Fr Vincent’s 40th anniversary of ordination Mass. Photo: Jamie O’Brien.

Speaking to The Record about his new appointment, Fr Vincent said he is both honoured and humbled to be of service to the Archbishop and the Archdiocese of Perth as the new Vicar General.

“I look forward to continuing my ministry in this new role, supporting the Archbishop and his Office, as well as the different people I meet across the Archdiocese,” Fr Vincent explained.

“I trust that the Lord will continue to support and guide me – as I hope that each one of us will do also for each other – always being ready to share the good news of Jesus Christ across Perth,” he said.

Archbishop Costelloe also emphasised that he is grateful to Fr Vincent for taking on this new and challenging ministry of service in the Archdiocese.

“I ask you all to offer Vincent your full support as he takes up this new role, which will begin on Friday March 29,” he said.