Nottingham priest and moral theologian John Sherrington was ordained an Auxiliary Bishop of Westminster today at Westminster Cathedral, the mother church of England and Wales.
He said at his ordination Mass that it was “an exciting time to become a bishop”.
Bishop Sherrington said: “In the light of the Pope’s visit last year and the deep searching within many people for spiritual values and for a better life in the community, the hope of the gospel of Jesus Christ can fall on fertile soil if we are courageous to proclaim it.”
The new bishop, ordained by Archbishop Vincent Nichols of Westminster, will be responsible for the Hertfordshire area of the archdiocese and will be chairman of its education commission.
In his homily Archbishop Nichols said Bishop Sherrington was the first bishop to be ordained in England and Wales since Pope Benedict XVI’s visit almost a year ago.
He said an “essential task” of a bishop was to lead the laity towards a “deeper life of faith and service”. “The more faithful you are to your Episcopal ministry, the more you will – and again I use the Holy Father’s words – ‘inspire all Christ’s followers to conform their every thought, word and action to Christ’ “, the archbishop said.
He said: “Your episcopal ministry will bring you great joy but, so too, many challenges. You’re clearly a man blessed with many gifts and a wealth of experience. Nevertheless, there will be moments when you are acutely aware of your weakness and are tempted to consider that even your best efforts are fruitless.
“However, as you have said yourself, ‘you know you need to rely on God’s grace more deeply than ever and to cultivate your life of prayer’ “, the archbishop said.
The ordination Mass was attended by the nuncio, Archbishop Antonio Mennini, Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor, Archbishop Peter Smith of Southwark, Archbishop George Stack of Cardiff, 14 Catholic bishops and over 60 priests.
It was attended by Orthodox, Methodist and other Protestant representatives, as well as several peers.
An apostolic letter from Pope Benedict XVI, read out in the Cathedral, can be heard here.
Bishop Sherrington was ordained a priest for the Nottingham Diocese in 1987 and has been parish priest for the Good Shepherd parish in Nottingham for the past two years. He has also assisted the bishops’ conference on ethical issues and was a part of the working party for the bishops’ conference document Cherishing Life (2005).
After graduating in 1980 with a degree in Mathematics from Cambridge University and two years working for as a management consultants, Fr Sherrington was accepted in 1982 by Bishop McGuinness for the Nottingham diocese and joined seminary at All Hallows in Dublin.
In 1990 he gained an STL in Moral Theology from the Gregorian University in Rome and lectured in moral theology at All Hallows in Dublin and then at St John’s Seminary in Wonersh, Guildford.