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Pope names vicar general as new Bishop of Wrexham

Pope Benedict XVI has appointed vicar general Mgr Peter Brignall as the new Bishop of Wrexham.

Bishop-elect Brignall, 58, is dean of St Mary’s Cathedral, Wrexham, and vicar general of the diocese. He is also chairman of the diocese’s board of trustees, chairman of the diocesan liturgical commission and an adviser on health care chaplaincy.

He said: “I am delighted for Bishop Edwin [Regan] that he is now able to take his well-deserved retirement and, after having overcome the initial astonishment of the Holy Father’s expression of confidence in me, am humbled and honoured to accept this appointment and to be able again to commit my life to the service of the Catholic Church in North Wales, a Church that now 35 years ago I chose and offered to work in and for on leaving London.”

Bishop-elect Brignall, to be ordained as bishop on September 12, said he could do “no better” than take the Year of Faith as the starting point of his ministry as bishop.

He said: “Earlier this year we celebrated the 25th anniversary of the Diocese of Wrexham and we are still very young in the third millennium, so any plans I might have for the future are first and foremost to build on the foundations laid by the first two Bishops of Wrexham, Bishop James Hannigan and Bishop Edwin Regan. Just a month after my ordination as bishop the Church begins the ‘Year of Faith’, a year in which Pope Benedict XVI invites Catholics to rediscover the gift of faith and so seek new ways of proclaiming it. I could do no better than taking that as the starting point of my ministry, indeed as the whole purpose of my ministry in Wales for years to come.”

Bishop Regan welcomed the appointment. He said the bishop-elect “has dedicated his life as a priest to the service of the Gospel in Wales. He has been a loyal and wise colleague as vicar general, with a deep love for the people of the diocese and his fellow clergy. Through his long experience of pastoral work in Wales, Bishop-elect Brignall understands the importance of the Welsh language and culture in modern Wales. He will continue to lead the diocese in the spirit of the Second Vatican Council, especially with the advent of the Year of Faith.”