posted on 06 January 2003
Diocese of Westminster
Pope John Paul II has appointed two new auxiliary bishops for the Archdiocese of Westminster.
The new Bishops are Fr. Bernard Longley, an expert in ecumenism and currently an Assistant General Secretary at the Catholic Bishops' Conference of England and Wales. The second appointment is Fr Alan Hopes, an Anglican convert who was received into the Catholic Church as recently as 1994 and who was appointed Vicar General in the Westminster Diocese by Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor in 2001.
On the new appointments, Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor, the Archbishop of Westminster, said:
'I am very grateful to Pope John Paul II for the appointment of Fr. Alan Hopes and Fr. Bernard Longley as Auxiliary Bishops in Westminster.
'Both as parish priest and more recently as Vicar General, Fr. Alan Hopes has already given outstanding service to the Diocese at large and its priests in particular.
'I look forward to his working with me in new and important responsibilities.
'The experience of Fr. Bernard Longley, both as teacher of theology at St. John's Seminary Wonersh and as Secretary of the Department of Mission And Unity in the Bishops' Conference, will be of great service to the Diocese and beyond.
'I know that each of these outstanding priests will be warmly welcomed by both the priests and people of the Diocese of Westminster.'
Father Bernard Longley acknowledged the importance of his new role saying:
'I feel greatly honoured and still very much overwhelmed at being appointed by the Holy Father to serve as an auxiliary bishop in Westminster.
'I am deeply grateful to the Cardinal for the trust he is placing in me, and I am looking forward to dedicating myself to serve in the archdiocese alongside the many deacons, priests, religious and fellow bishops.
'At this important juncture in my life I am conscious of all that I owe to my parents and family for their example of faith and their prayerful support of my priestly ministry.
'I wish to thank Bishop Kieran and my brother priests in the diocese of Arundel and Brighton and elsewhere for their friendship and companionship in the priesthood over many years.
'I have learnt much in recent years from my friends and colleagues at the Bishops' Conference and among our ecumenical partners in the national Churches Together, and I feel certain that this will be of value in my future ministry.
'Finally, I am delighted that Fr Alan Hopes has been appointed at the same time as myself, that we have been able to work together from the outset, and that we shall be ordained together by the Cardinal.'
58 year old Father Alan Hopes, whose appointment will be warmly welcomed by senior Catholics and Anglicans alike, responded to his appointment saying:
'I am humbled and honoured to have been appointed a Bishop by the Holy Father and delighted to have been asked to assist Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor as one of his Auxiliary Bishops.'
Ordained an Anglican priest at St Paul's Cathedral in 1968, received into the Catholic Church in 1994 and ordained a Catholic priest in 1995 by the late Basil Hume, Father Alan went on,
'Throughout my life, my family have supported me in my vocation and continue to do so. I owe them a great debt of gratitude. I served in the ministry of the Church of England for 27 years and I am grateful to it for having nurtured my Christian faith and for having graciously helped me to embrace fully the Catholic Church. The friendships I established there are still a great source of strength for me.
'The Diocese of Westminster has given me a warm encouraging welcome. I am happy now to be asked to make a return for that generosity and the gift of my faith by undertaking this office of service in the Church.'