Easter is all about Good News and new beginnings and so on behalf of the whole Diocese, I very much welcome the appointment of Fr Alan Williams as my successor. He is a member of the Religious Order known as the Marist Fathers and is currently the Director of the National Shrine of Our Lady at Walsingham. Those who have met him in that role – including many from our own Diocese - have always been deeply impressed by the outstanding hospitality, thoughtfulness and care for pilgrims that he has shown there. He now brings these pastoral gifts – so important in today’s Church and especially under the present pontificate – to a new and wider role as our next Bishop.
The Marists have the explicit focus of ‘mission’ at the heart of their ministry and this is seen particularly through their work in the fields of evangelisation and education. Furthermore, Bishop-elect Alan brings wide-ranging skills to our Diocese having had a significant leadership role in his Order, pastoral experience in a parish and also experience in the field of education.
His ordination as bishop will take place in the Cathedral on 1st July.
My own resignation as Bishop has now been accepted, although I will serve as Apostolic Administrator of the Diocese until my successor is ordained.
I know that every member of our Diocese will join with me in offering the most warm and heartfelt welcome to our Bishop-elect Alan and that we will guarantee him a special place in our thoughts and prayers not only as he prepares to take up his new ministry among us but equally for the years to come.