The Archdiocesan Historical Commission plays an important part in researching and celebrating the history of the Perth Archdiocese, according to its chairman, Monsignor Brian O’Loughlin.
Established in 2007 by Archbishop Hickey, Mgr O’Loughlin said the Historical Commission aims “to foster the study and publication of the history of the Archdiocese and to commemorate historical events”.
A recent example of the Commission’s desire to commemorate historical events was the reinterment of the remains of Archbishop Clune into the crypt of St Mary’s Cathedral.
In 2011, the Commission also helped to celebrate the centenary of the consecration of Archbishop Clune. Later this year it will commemorate the 100th anniversary of the elevation of the Perth diocese to archdiocesan status.
The Commission arranged for a biography of Archbishop Clune to be researched and written by Fr Christopher Dowd OP. With the biography now complete, it will be launched next year, along with a second work.
“The other one is Odhran O’Brien’s research on the life of Bishop Martin Griver, the second bishop of Perth,” Mgr O’Loughlin said.
Mr O’Brien received a three-year research scholarship from the Archdiocese in 2007 to complete the work.
Mgr O’Loughlin said the Commission strongly encourages private research into matters of historical significance and relevance to the Archdiocese of Perth.
“We have the archives, but the Historical Commission was to take up projects in order that the history of the Archdiocese would be recorded in publications and historical events would be celebrated,” he said.
“There is a lay person of the Archdiocese who privately has researched the lives and times of Bishop Matthew Gibney, who was also the founder of The Record, and we would be encouraging that sort of private research.”
Mgr O’Loughlin said the Historical Commission consists of several members, including Fr Robert Cross, Mr O’Brien, and Dr Paul Skerritt.
Its foundation members, who are now retired, included Fr Patrick Cunningham, Sr Frances Stibi PBVM, Mrs Ruth Marchant James, Dr Shane Burke and Justice Kevin Hammond.
The Historical Commission meets quarterly and Mgr O’Loughlin said some “prospective new members have been approached”.
A similar commission exists in the Archdiocese of Melbourne.