Pope Francis has appointed Canon Paul Swarbrick, a diocesan priest, as the new Bishop of Lancaster.
The bishop-elect was born and raised within the diocese, before training for the priesthood at Ushaw College, Durham. He was ordained in his hometown of Garstang in 1982 and went on to serve in various parishes across the diocese.
“I must confess to being in a state of surprise and shock at my appointment, and to a feeling of great inadequacy when faced with what lies ahead,” the bishop-elect said.
“Since my ordination to the Priesthood at Garstang in July 1982 this was never something I expected or feel prepared for. I have given my acceptance in a spirit of profound humility, deeply conscious of my unworthiness and sinfulness.
“It is a call to follow Jesus with greater trust and more generous love, ever mindful of what He has done for me and, ultimately, the fullness of Life He calls me to share.”
Outgoing Bishop Michael Campbell said: “I am delighted to welcome Canon Paul Swarbrick as my successor as Bishop of Lancaster, and I thank our Holy Father, Pope Francis, for naming Canon Paul as the seventh bishop of the Diocese.
“The news of Canon Swarbrick’s appointment will give much pleasure to many, both within and beyond the Diocese.
“A native son of the Diocese of Lancaster, Bishop-Elect Swarbrick comes to the office of bishop with considerable pastoral experience, having served since his ordination in a number of parishes here in the Diocese as well as a long period as a fidei donum priest in the Diocese of Monze, Zambia.
“I know he will use these gifts to the great advantage of the priests and people of Lancaster, who will be well-served by their new Bishop.”
The date of bishop-elect Swarbrick’s episcopal ordination has yet to be set. In the meantime, Bishop Campbell will continue as head of the diocese on an interim basis.