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Being a bishop is not a promotion, cardinal tells new Bishop of Gibraltar

Cardinal Vincent Nichols, Archbishop of Westminster, giving a press conference in Rome in October 2015. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)

Cardinal Vincent Nichols has consecrated the new Bishop of Gibraltar, Mgr Carmelo Zammit, advising him that the position “is not a promotion, but a new step on the pathway of holiness, given for God’s own purpose.”

In a homily in St Paul’s Cathedral in Mdina, Malta, where the ordination Mass took place, Cardinal Nichols, Archbishop of Westminster, said: “Governance in the name of Jesus has no trace of the patterns of this world’s ways – ‘lording it over them’”, emphasising that it “was a call to serve”.

“In my humble experience, ordination as a bishop brings with it a more radical change than even the change wrought by ordination as a priest,” he said

Bishop Carmelo Zammit, 66, replaces Bishop Ralph Heskett, who was made Bishop of the Diocese of Hallam, Liverpool, in 2014. Bishop Heskett and Archbishop Scicluna of Malta acted as co-consecrators.

Acknowledging Gibraltar’s tumultuous history, Cardinal Nichols said: “To be bishop of such a place is, I believe, a privilege and a challenge.”

“In its history, tradition and location it is, in many ways, a microcosm of Europe with all the dramas, dangers and opportunities of Europe today,” the cardinal added.

Although born and educated in Malta, Bishop Zammit spent more than 20 years in Gibraltar, home to an estimated 23,000 Catholics, in pastoral roles including judicial vicar, school chaplain and parish priest.

Mgr Zammit studied at the University of Malta, where he obtained a Licentiate in Theology, and latterly a Licentiate in Canon Law at the Pontifical Lateran University, Rome.

In 1997 he was bestowed with the title of Prelate to His Holiness, while in 2005 he was appointed Canon of the Metropolitan Chapter. In 2010 he was elected President of the Metropolitan Chapter and since 2009 he has been serving as a Council member of the St John’s Co-Cathedral Foundation.