Cardinal Archbishop of Westminster

Cardinal celebrates 50 years of priesthood

On Saturday 21st December, 2019, Cardinal Vincent celebrated his Golden Jubilee with a thanksgiving Mass for 50 years of priestly ministry in Westminster Cathedral surrounded by clergy and people of the diocese. Among the concelebrants were Nuncio Archbishop Edward Adams; Auxiliary Bishops John Sherrigton, Nicholas Hudson and Paul McAleenan; Bishop Marcus Stock of Leeds, Auxiliary Bishop of Birmingham David McGough, Emeritus Bishop of Lancaster Michael Campbell OSA, and Emeritus Bishop of Menevia Mark Jabale OSB.

Reflecting on these years, he said: 'I am humbled to think, even fleetingly, of all I have received during them, most of all for the love and support that has been a constant gift to me throughout these years. It is my privilege to serve the Lord, in and through you, the Church, the living Body of Christ for all this time, and, please God, for the years to come.'

In his homily, he said: 'A jubilee is but a staging post, a moment to reflect on a journey thus far, to try to grasp its gifts, its lessons. It is also a time in which to take a glimpse of all that lies ahead.' 

He noted that a constant theme throughout his years of ministry for him and for everyone of faith is encountering Jesus: 'Every time we come to meet him, we are flooded with the life and love which only he can give.' 

Young Fr Vincent Nichols giving Holy Communion

During Advent, he added, 'we come to meet him afresh, especially if we are burdened with too much to do, or with a sense of how unfair life is, or that too much is expected of us. We are to dig deeper into our own hearts, each day, to find him there, always coming to meet us, to greet us and again fill us with his life.'

At the end of Mass, Bishop John Sherrington congratulated the Cardinal on behalf of the bishops, clergy and parishioners of the diocese thanking him for his 'devoted and dedicated service of priestly and episcopal ministry'. 

He continued: 'We see your relentless energy which enables you to fulfil your many responsibilities and your courage in proclaiming the Gospel of Christ in both good and difficult times. Your witness of prayer and concerns for the weakest encourages us in our own ministries.'

Noting that the Eucharist is 'at the heart of the priesthood' and 'life of service', he urged: 'May these words from the ordination rite encourage and support you for many years: "Accept from the holy people of God the gifts to be offered to him. Know what you are doing, and imitate the mystery you celebrate: model your life on the mystery of the Lord's cross."'

Bishop John presented the Cardinal with a gift from the clergy and people of the diocese, which, in accordance with the Cardinal's wishes, will be used 'for the good of others'.

Cardinal Vincent then remarked further on the centrality of the Eucharist in the life of faith, when he told all who were gathered that the chalice used in this Mass was made in 1529 during the reign of Henry VIII, a 500-year-old witness to faith in this country. Taken in this context, 50 years of priestly ministry is but a small part of centuries of worship, attesting to the resilience of our faith.

Chalice dating from 1529 using during the thanksgiving Mass

A few days prior, the Cardinal recorded this reflection looking back on 50 years of priesthood.

Photos: Mazur/ 

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