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Mass in Thankgiving for Bishop Bernard Longley
posted on 20 November 2009
Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor, Bishop Bernard Longley and Archbishop Vincent Nichols
Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor, Bishop Bernard Longley and Archbishop Vincent Nichols

A Solemn Mass in Thanksgiving for Bishop Bernard Longley's ministry as Auxiliary Bishop of Westminster was celebrated at Westminster Cathedral on Friday 20 November 2009.

Bishop Longley was named the ninth Archbishop of Birmingham on 1 October 2009.  He will be Installed as Archbishop of Birmingham at the Metropolitan Cathedral and Basilica of Saint Chad on 8 December 2009, Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception.  He succeeds the Archbishop of Westminster, the Most Reverend Vincent Nichols (2000-2009).

At the start of the Mass, Bishop Longley expressed his gratitude to all those present. These included, as concelebrants, Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor, Archbishop Vincent Nichols, Auxiliary Bishops John Arnold, Alan Hopes and George Stack and over 80 Clergy of the Diocese of Westminster.  He also greeted ecumenical guests, who included the Bishop of Edmonton, Peter Wheatley, the Archdeacon of Hackney, the Venerable Dr Lyle Dennen and the Superintendent of the Baptist Church Rev. Pat Took.


The Homily was given by Archbishop Vincent Nichols (It can be heard by clicking on the green Audio button on this page.) He paid tribute to Bishop Bernard Longley's work in the diocese and  highlighted his unfailing kindness, courtesy and sensitivity.  'The bonds between us will last,' said Archbishop Nichols 'and are deepened in this celebration of the Mass, thorough which God's hand holds us fast and through which His love is pulled into our hearts.'

After receiving news of his appointment, Bishop Bernard Longley said: I feel immensely honoured and very humbled that the Holy Father has appointed me to succeed Archbishop Vincent Nichols as Archbishop of Birmingham.  I look forward to serving the Priests and Deacons, the Religious and all the People of the Archdiocese and to working alongside my brother Bishops there.  I also look forward to knowing and appreciating the life of the Diocese and the many ways in which it reaches out with the love and truth of Christ, in its parish and school communities and through ecumenical and inter-religious friendships.  I am grateful to Bishop William Kenney for his faithful service as Diocesan Administrator over recent months and for the welcome that he has already shown to me.'

It wont be easy to leave the Diocese of Westminster which has been my home for the past seven years.  It will be sad to say goodbye, especially to the East and Central London parishes where the Priests, Parishioners and Religious have become good friends.  It has been a privilege to work with Cardinal Cormac Murphy-OConnor and my fellow Auxiliary Bishops and more recently with Archbishop Vincent, and I thank them for all that I have learnt from their insights and experience.


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