Bishop Paul McAleenan and Bishop John Wilson were ordained by Cardinal Vincent on the Feast of the Conversion of St Paul, 25 January at Westminster Cathedral, joining Bishop John Sherrington and Bishop Nicholas Hudson as Auxiliary Bishops for the diocese.
Among the concelebrants present at the ordination were Cardinal Cormac, the Apostolic Nuncio Archbishop Mennini, archbishops and bishops from every diocese in England and Wales, as well as around 200 priests who were mainly from the Dioceses of Westminster and Leeds.
Also present were ecumenical guests representing several churches and ecclesial communities, as well as the Lord Mayor of Westminter, Mayors and Members of Parliament representing the areas of pastoral responsibility of the bishops. Also present were many of the faithful from the Diocese of Leeds, which was home to Bishop John Wilson until recently, and our own diocese.
Bishop Paul has been assigned the titular see of Mercia and will have pastoral responsibility for the deaneries in Hertfordshire, replacing Bishop John Sherrington who will assume pastoral care of the deaneries of north London. Bishop John Wilson has been assigned the titular see of Lindisfarne and will have pastoral responsibility for the parishes in the western area of the diocese.
Ahead of the homily, Fr Jeremy Trood, Chancellor for the diocese, read the Papal Bulls announcing the appointment of these two new bishops, who are then called forward to be presented to the Cardinal.
In his homily immediately ahead of the ordination, Cardinal Vincent spoke about the example of St Paul for all bishops. He explained that ‘every bishop is chosen by the Father and given to his Son to be his companion in a special way’ and that this is the ‘deepest identity of the bishop: to be a ‘companion, with the apostles, of the Lord Jesus’.
It is this identity that ‘gives shape to the daily life of the bishop’ and is ‘the rock of his life’. It is this same ‘bond that remains at the heart of all that St Paul is and does’, in the service of the Lord.
The Cardinal also encouraged the bishops to have a ‘renewed sense of mission’, encouraging and developing participation with ‘the missionary aspiration of reaching everyone’.
After Communion, Cardinal Vincent led the two new bishops through the cathedral where they gave their blessing to all present.
Afterwards, Archbishop Mennini addressed them on behalf of the Holy Father, extending the Pope's congratulations and exhorting them to 'become builders of bridges', leading their people in a community of 'love and mutual obedience to the will of God'. He reassured them of the prayers of all present and reminded them to pray for their people, 'always carrying the joys and hopes, the difficulties and sufferings on the path to the kingdom of God'.
More information about Bishop Paul can be found here.
More information about Bishop John Wilson can be found here.
The full text of the Cardinal's homily can be read here.
Pictured from left to right: Bishop Nicholas Hudson, Bishop John Wilson, Cardinal Vincent Nichols, Bishop Paul McAleenan and Bishop John Sherrington.