Rector’s farewell thoughts as he prepares for his Episcopal Ordination

In his translation of verse 14, in chapter 13 of the Epistle to the Hebrews, the great Mgr Ronald Knox, wrote We have an everlasting city, but not here’  These are words that have occupied me somewhat during the last few months, actually, since mid-November, when the Holy Father appointed me to be an auxiliary Bishop in the Archdiocese of Southwark! When, shortly, I leave Walsingham for south London, I shall be in my fourth residence in as many years!

I came to Walsingham as Rector in September 2020, and for five years.  But the Holy Spirit won’t be pinned down by our strategies and arrangements!  In fact, don’t they say If you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans! Leaving Our Lady’s National Shrine to become a Bishop wasn’t part of my plans, but then, doesn’t Our Lady of Walsingham teach us always to be open to the new thing God might want us to do? Of course, what God asked of her was unique, beyond compare, and of vital importance; but, doesn’t God ask of us each day to do things – however small – to help build his kingdom, and give glory to His name?  None of us can say that we’re too small or insignificant to play a part in God’s plan.  And if we don’t, who will?

So, like you, I rely on the prayers of our Blessed Mother, to accompany me as I move further south. I am thankful for the time I’ve spent at England’s Nazareth, working with the shrine staff,  to welcome pilgrims, and minister to those who come in need to be wrapped in Our Lady’s mantle of prayer and love.

I know you will support my successor when he is appointed, and continue to do all you can to do all you can to make England’s Nazareth a  place of devotion and welcome.

May Our Lady of Walsingham pray for all our pilgrims and for all in need.