Bishop Richard Umbers’ Biography

Most Rev Bishop Richard Umbers was born in Auckland, New Zealand on 17 March 1971 to Declan and Mary Umbers, the youngest of five children, brother to Anthony, Andrew, Gregory and Margaret and uncle to 8 nieces and nephews.
He formerly worked as a Policy Analyst at Waitakere City Council having graduated with a Bachelor of Economics from the University of Sydney and a Masters of Management from the University of Waikato.

Bishop Richard entered the Opus Dei Seminary of Cavabianca, Rome in 1996 and studied at Santa Croce Pontifical University, Rome, achieving a Bachelor of Theology in 1999. Of his time in Rome, Bishop Richard says that one of his fondest memories is participating in a Eucharistic Procession with St John Paul II when he should have been studying for a liturgy exam.
Between 1999-2002, Bishop Richard studied at the University of Navarre, Spain where he received a Doctorate in Philosophy. On 14 February 2002, he was ordained a deacon and on 1 September 2002 a priest at the spectacular 11th Century Marian Shrine at Torrecuidad in northern Spain. Present at his ordination were his mother (who Bishop Richard says was so excited, she couldn’t sleep for a week), one of his brothers, one of his cousins, his uncle Father Bob and Father Amin Abboud, the person who first invited Bishop Richard to think about becoming a priest.
Since 2003, Bishop Richard worked pastorally as a school and university chaplain at a number of NSW colleges. He was chaplain of Warrane College, Redfield College, Creston College, Kenvale College and the Nairana Study Centre, and says that the best thing about working with students is being able to discuss all manner of ideas with them.
He tutored and lectured in philosophy at the University of Notre Dame, Sydney between 2006 and 2013. As a Chaplain to university students he attended service projects working with local clergy around South East Asia. A World Youth Day tragic, his travels took him to Manila in 1995 as a pilgrim, and as a chaplain to Sydney in 2008, Krakow, Poland, in 2016, Panama City in 2019, and Lisbon, Portugal in 2024.

On 25 June 2016, Pope Francis appointed Bishop Richard as auxiliary bishop of Sydney and titular bishop of Thala in Tunisia. He was ordained as a bishop along with Bishop Anthony Randazzo on 24 August 2016 at St Mary’s Cathedral, Sydney.
Present at his ordination was Bishop Denis Browne, Emeritus Bishop of Hamilton, New Zealand, who baptised Bishop Richard, and his uncle Father Bob served as ‘chaplain’ to the new bishop.
More recently, Bishop Richard served as a member representative for the Archdiocese to the St John of God Hospitals. He currently sits as a Fellow on the Board of St John’s College, is a Trustee of the University of Notre Dame, Deputy Chancellor of the Catholic Institute of Sydney and is an ex officio member of a number of Archdiocesan consultative bodies – Curia, Council of Consulters and Trustees, Council of Deans, Council of Priests, and is a regular guest to Finance Council meetings. He is also the Episcopal Vicar for the South Eastern Region, the Episcopal Vicar for Evangelisation and the Liaison Bishop for Tertiary Education.
In November 2018 he took up his position on the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference’s Bishops Commission for Life, Family and Public Engagement. And in 2023 was appointed the Bishop Delegate to Prison Chaplaincy for the NSW Province of Bishops.
As a Kwaussie, Bishop Richard is the Australian and Kiwi Bishops’ Conferences Representative to the International Eucharistic Congress in Budapest 2021 and Quito 2024. He has been busy promoting Adoration, and Eucharistic and Marian processions, across Sydney, in an effort to build up the practice of popular piety and public religious celebration.

Active in Social Media, you may have seen his Catechetical videos entitled “Truth in a Minute” that are produced by Ben Connolly.
Bishop Richard is proficient in Spanish conversation at the cafe, but can also order the pasta in Italian and say grace in Latin.
In his spare time, our NZ-born Bishop is partial to making memes about meetings while watching a bit of “Netflux.”