The Diocese of Leeds today gained a new bishop after a two-and-a-half-year wait.
Bishop Marcus Stock was installed at Leeds cathedral during a three-hour ordination Mass.
The main celebrant at the Mass was Cardinal Vincent Nichols, Archbishop of Westminster, along with Archbishop Arthur Roche, former Bishop of Leeds, and Archbishop Malcolm McMahon of Liverpool.
In the foreword to the Diocesan Year Book, Bishop Stock wrote: “Please pray for me as I begin my ministry of service among you as your bishop.
“I am only too conscious of my failings, my sinfulness and weaknesses as a Christian and member of the Church. Nevertheless, I am confident that with the joy and the gifts which the Holy Spirit gives to us, along with your love and prayerful support to sustain me, we will be able to serve Christ Our Lord faithfully together in this Diocese of Leeds.”
The Mass took place in the presence of the relics of two martyrs, Blessed Peter Snow and Blessed Ralph Grimston, both condemned to death by Elizabeth I. Their skulls were found at the ancient chapel of Hazlewood Castle, near Tadcaster, and were placed in the cathedral altar in 2005.
The diocese has been left without a bishop since then Bishop Arthur Roche was appointed secretary of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments in Rome in 2012.
Bishop Stock was ordained a priest in 1988 and served in parishes across Birmingham until he was handpicked by Cardinal Vincent Nichols five years ago to be general secretary of the bishops’ conference.
At his appointment Bishop Stock said at the centre of his mission would be Blessed John Henry Newman’s idea that people “should know their faith and articulate their faith not only in words but in their lives. We cannot ‘make Christ known’ unless we come to know him ourselves.”
In an interview with The Catholic Herald in 2010 Bishop Stock said the idea to become a priest was first planted in his head by an Anglican curate when he was only 11. His family were evangelical Anglicans and by the time he converted to Catholicism at 19 he said he had already developed a “deep love” of Christ.
He said that during his training as a priest he was inspired by the sisters who cooked and looked after the seminarians in Rome. “It was their daily work, their personal sacrifice, doing all the menial things with very little praise or recognition,” he said.
Bishop Stock explained in September that he was an “early riser like Pope Francis”. “I get up at 4.30am and spend my first couple of hours in prayer,” he said.
He explained that he sought to live up to advice from a priest long ago that every day his first thoughts, his first words, and first nourishment – in the form of the Blessed Sacrament – should be Christ.