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Pope Francis appoints two new auxiliary bishops for the Diocese of Westminster

The joint episcopal ordinations will take place at Westminster Cathedral (Mazur/catholicnews.org.uk)

Pope Francis has appointed two new Auxiliary Bishops of the Diocese of Westminster, Canon Paul McAleenan and Mgr John Wilson.

The joint episcopal ordinations of Canon Paul McAleenan, a priest of the Diocese of Westminster, and Mgr John Wilson, a priest of the Diocese of Leeds, will take place in Westminster Cathedral on January 25 2016, the feast of the Conversion of St Paul.

They will join Bishop John Sherrington and Bishop Nicholas Hudson as Bishops of the Diocese of Westminster.

Cardinal Vincent Nichols has welcomed the appointments.

“Today I thank God for this gift of two new bishops for service in our diocese. As Pope Francis has made clear, the name of a new bishop is written by Jesus himself. So today I say ‘Thanks be to God!'” the Archbishop of Westminster said.

“I am also most thankful to Pope Francis for this important strengthening of our diocesan family in our striving to be faithful to the Lord and to the mission he has given to us all. The role of the bishop is one of demanding service and here we are blessed by these additions to the oversight and encouragement which we can offer, in the name of the Good Shepherd, to our priests and people.”

He added: “On behalf of my fellow bishops here, Bishop John Sherrington and Bishop Nicholas Hudson, I welcome our new brother bishops. I assure them of a warm welcome from our priests and people.”

Canon Paul McAleenan said he accepts the office of Auxiliary Bishop of Westminster “with a sense of inadequacy and unworthiness”.

“To be a bishop was never a part of my plans and certainly not my expectation. I know it is only with the help of God I can carry out this ministry in a way that is pleasing to him,” he said.

Mgr John Wilson described his appointment as “an enormous privilege”.

“I am rarely lost for words, but when His Excellency Archbishop Mennini, the Apostolic Nunio, informed me that I had been nominated by Pope Francis as an Auxiliary Bishop of Westminster I was reduced to silence. Aware of my unworthiness it was only after prayer, and with complete trust in God’s provident goodness, that I accepted,” he said.

“There is inevitably some sadness for me in leaving the Diocese of Leeds and the parish of St Martin de Porres in Wakefield. Over the past 20 years I have received countless blessings through the bishops, clergy, religious and laity of the diocese. I thank them all from the bottom of my heart and will always remember them with gratitude before the Lord.”