The new Bishop of Nottingham has said he learnt of his appointment as he was getting ready to go walking on his day off.
Mgr Patrick McKinney, currently parish priest at Our Lady and All Saints in Stourbridge, Worcestershire, said: “I had just changed into my walking gear when the mobile rang and it was a number I didn’t recognise so I didn’t answer it.”
When the 61-year-old listened to his voicemail, it was a message from the nuncio summoning him to his Wimbledon residence. There, the Donegal-born priest was informed that the Pope had appointed him as the tenth Bishop of Nottingham.
He said: “I was utterly surprised, it came completely out of the blue. I was given the opportunity to pray for a while and then come back with an answer, and I said yes.”
He also spoke to Archbishop Bernard Longley of Birmingham, who was “very helpful”. Mgr McKinney, who moved to Birmingham as a youth, first served as a priest in his native Co Donegal, having studied at St Mary’s College College, Oscott. He has since served as rector at St Mary’s and episcopal vicar for the north of the Archdiocese of Birmingham.
He said that, as a keen hill-walker, a small part of Derbyshire was “my only contact” with the Diocese of Nottingham.
Mgr McKinney said he had received a “lovely welcome” from Catholics in Nottingham. Archbishop Malcolm McMahon led the diocese for 14 years before being appointed to Liverpool.