Bishop's mum 'very proud'

Betty Howell (The Catholic Leader/Emilie Ng)

Betty Howell is very proud of her son, Bishop Ken Howell, who was ordained Auxiliary Bishop of Brisbane on Wednesday, reports The Catholic Leader.

Bishop Howell was a teenager when he felt the call to the priesthood. The person who probably prayed for him the most was his mother, one of the few people who will be excused from addressing her son as “Bishop”.

“When I call him ‘Father’, he always says, ‘Yes, Mother’,” Mrs Howell said.

 “It’s going to be funny seeing him with his bishop hat on."

Bishop Howell was visiting his mother at Holy Spirit Home, Carseldine, when he received a call from the apostolic nuncio to Australia saying Pope Francis had appointed him an auxiliary bishop for Brisbane.

Originally from Longreach, Mrs Howell moved to Brisbane in the 1950s to find work. Her parents soon followed her and bought a house on Shafston Avenue, East Brisbane, the suburb Bishop Howell now calls home.

Mrs Howell worked in the same building as a man named Jack Howell, who would become her husband for nearly 60 years.

“Ken’s very much like him,” she said, glancing at a picture of her late-husband hanging in her unit.

The Howells married at St Joseph’s, Kangaroo Point, and had four children – Kenneth, Janet, Rodney and Gavin. All five were to be reunited at Bishop Howell’s ordination on Wednesday, and no doubt they thought of Jack, who died in 2014.

Speaking to The Catholic Leader two weeks before the ordination, Mrs Howell said she wished her husband were still alive to see their son become a bishop.

“It would be very lovely,” she said. “I’m very proud of him. My husband would have been very proud of him.”

Mrs Howell said she never thought there would be a priest in the family, but recalled a young Bishop Howell who “liked to go to church and say his prayers”.


Brisbane mum Betty Howell ‘very proud’ of her bishop son (The Catholic Leader)

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