After a gap of three years, Pope Francis has appointed a new bishop for Britain’s armed forces.
Paul Mason, currently an auxiliary bishop of Southwark, takes over as eighth Bishop of the Forces three years after the previous bishop, Richard Moth, was transferred to Arundel and Brighton.
The Bishopric serves all Catholic British service personnel wherever they are stationed. Chaplains of the three Armed Services serve on operations, providing support for servicemen.
Currently, there are seven chaplains serving in Royal Navy and two for the Royal Air Force. The Army has 17 regular chaplains, two military support chaplains, an officiating chaplain to the military, five TA chaplains and five ACF chaplains.
Bishop Mason said: “Supporting the men and women of the British Armed Forces, and their families, is a very important apostolate in the life of the Church and one which I will be doing my best to pass muster.
“The network of chaplains across all three services do valiant work and I look forward to meeting them and working with them in the years ahead.”
Fr Michael Fava, Apostolic Administrator of the Bishopric of the Forces, said: “It is with great joy and thanksgiving that the Bishopric of the Forces’ community welcomes the news of the appointment of our new Bishop Paul Mason, after a period of sede vacante of over three years.
“Catholic Forces’ personnel and their families around the world and their chaplains in all three Services look forward to the guidance and leadership that Bishop Paul will offer us and will do all we can to acquaint him quickly with our unique corner of the Church with its many joys and challenges.
“Together we look forward to furthering the church’s mission of new evangelisation as we strive to work in the cause of peace.
“As Apostolic Administrator of the Bishopric, I can assure Bishop Paul of the wholehearted support and prayers of the chaplains and faithful alike as we look to an exciting new era in the Forces’ Bishopric history.”