Ninth Archbishop of Melbourne
Archbishop Peter Andrew Comensoli was born in the Illawarra on 25 March 1964, the fourth son and last child of the late Mick and Margaret Comensoli. He was baptised at St John Vianney Church, Fairy Meadow, the parish in which he would receive the sacraments of Christian initiation as well as priestly ordination.
Undertaking an early education with the Good Samaritan Sisters and later with the Marist Fathers, Archbishop Comensoli also spent four years in the banking sector while studying Commerce at the University of Wollongong.
In 1986 Archbishop Comensoli commenced his studies for the priesthood at St Patrick’s College, Manly, and was ordained for the Diocese of Wollongong on 22 May 1992. He served as Assistant Priest and Administrator in a number of parishes as well as six years as Diocesan Chancellor.
Archbishop Comensoli holds a Bachelor of Theology and Bachelor of Sacred Theology from the Catholic Institute of Sydney, a Licentiate of Sacred Theology in moral theology from Accademia Alfonsiana (Rome), a Masters of Letters in moral philosophy from the University of St Andrews (Fife, Scotland) and a Doctorate of Philosophy in theological ethics from the University of Edinburgh (Scotland). He is the author of In God’s Image: Recognizing the profoundly impaired as persons (Cascade Books, 2018), as well as a number of articles on disability and Christian anthropology.
On 20 April 2011 Archbishop Comensoli was appointed Auxiliary Bishop of Sydney and ordained to the Episcopate on 8 June 2011 at St Mary’s Cathedral.
In the Archdiocese of Sydney, he served as Episcopal Vicar for Life, Marriage and Family; Chair of the Sydney Archdiocesan Schools Board; and Parish Priest of Our Lady Star of the Sea, Watsons Bay.
On 20 November 2014, Archbishop Comensoli was appointed the third Bishop of the Diocese of Broken Bay and installed at Our Lady of the Rosary Cathedral, Waitara on 12 December 2014. The following year he was appointed a Board Director of Catholic Schools NSW.
On 29 June 2018, His Holiness Pope Francis appointed Archbishop Peter as the ninth Archbishop of Melbourne and on 1 August 2018, he was installed at St Patrick's Cathedral.
At a national level, Archbishop Comensoli has served on the Bishops Commissions for Family, Youth and Life, Evangelisation and the Plenary Council. He currently serves on the Permanent Committee of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference and is Chair of the Bishops Commission for Life, Family and Public Engagement.
The personal Arms of Archbishop Peter Comensoli were assumed in 2011 on his ordination as titular Bishop of Tigisi in Numidia and borne by him as Auxiliary of the Archdiocese of Sydney (2011-2014). He bore them impaled with the Arms of the Diocese of Broken Bay as its third Bishop (2014-2018). The practice of bishops impaling their arms with the arms of their dioceses is not traditional in Melbourne where (with the sole exception of Archbishop Frank Little), archbishops have borne their personal arms alone.
The inverted Latin Cross symbolises the Bishop’s nominal patron, the Apostle Peter and the stars reflect the Southern Cross, which shines out over the Great South Land of the Holy Spirit. The lion and the unicorn respectively symbolise the mind and the heart of love.
The motto Praedicamus Christum Crucifixum is a quotation from the Apostle Paul’s first epistle to the Corinthians (1 Corinthians 1:23), and can be translated as ‘We proclaim a crucified Christ.’
The arms were designed by Mr Richard d’Apice AM and Mr Sandy Turnbull of the Australian Heraldry Society and Fr Guy Selvester and are illustrated by Mr Sandy Turnbull.