IT IS with great sadness that the Franciscan Friars of the Province of the Holy Spirit announce the death of Emeritus Archbishop Sir Brian Barnes OFM (1933-2017).
Brian James Patrick Barnes was born at Wingham in New South Wales on 23 March 1933 to Arthur Keith Barnes and Eileen Barnes. He joined the Order of Friars Minor (Franciscans) in 1951 and was first professed on 18 February 1952. He was ordained a priest on 12 July 1958.
As Father Brian Barnes, he was appointed to the mission of Papua New Guinea in October 1959. He served as Assistant Priest in Aitape when he first arrived in the PNG Missions. He then served as Headmaster at Seleo Island and as a parish priest in Monandin, Nuku, Wati, Ningil and Lumi from 1960 until 1968.
In 1968 he was appointed as chaplain to the police of the Royal PNG Constabulary. He was based in Port Moresby but travelled extensively throughout Papua New Guinea. He served as the police chaplain from 1968 until 1988 when he took up his appointment as a bishop of the diocese of Aitape.
Father Brian was appointed as Bishop of Aitape on 3 October 1987 and ordained bishop of that diocese on 10 February 1988. He served in Aitape from 1988 until his appointment as Archbishop of Port Moresby.
Bishop Brian was appointed as the seventh Ordinary and the fourth Archbishop of Port Moresby on 14 June 1997. He retired as the Archbishop of Port Moresby on 26 March 2008.
Archbishop Barnes was made a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in 1982 and a Knight of the British Empire (KBE) in 2003. Perhaps his highest civil honour was bestowed on him in 2011 when he was made Grand Chief Commander of the Order of Logohu (GCL) in a ceremony which took place at Star of the Sea Friary in Waverley NSW.
Archbishop Brian Barnes was a man totally dedicated to the people and the church in Papua New Guinea. He became a citizen of Papua New Guinea in 1976 and fought long and hard for the integrity and stability of his adopted homeland.
He took on the cares and concerns of his people, spoke against corruption within the PNG government of his time, using his weekly radio address to reach his people, encourage goodness and challenge those who sought to do harm to his country. His courageous stance came at a cost to his personal health and safety.
Archbishop Brian returned to Australia as a consequence of health concerns and lived for a number of years at Star of the Sea Friary in Waverley. In his last years, he was a resident of Our Lady of Consolation Nursing Home at Rooty Hill.
Mass of Christian Burial for Emeritus Archbishop Brian Barnes OFM will be celebrated at Mary Immaculate Church, 45A Victoria Street, Waverley NSW on Saturday 20 May beginning at 11am. At the conclusion of mass, the cortege will proceed to Macquarie Park for a cremation.
The remains of Archbishop Brian Barnes will be interred at St Didacus Friary Cemetery, Aitape, Papua New Guinea.