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Robert Byrne appointed new Bishop of Hexham and Newcastle

Bishop Robert Byrne (right) during his Episcopal Ordination in 2014 (Mazur/catholicnews.org.uk)

Bishop Byrne was the first English Oratorian bishop for 140 years when he was appointed auxiliary of Birmingham in 2014

Bishop Robert Byrne has been appointed as the new Bishop of Hexham and Newcastle, succeeding Seamus Cunningham.

Bishop Byrne, formerly Provost of the Oxford Oratory, became the first Oratorian bishop in England for 140 years when he was appointed Auxiliary Bishop of Birmingham in 2014. He is regarded as friendly towards the Traditional Latin Mass, introducing a weekly Old Rite Mass during his time in Oxford.

He was born in Manchester in 1956 and attended St Bede’s School, King’s College London and the Pontifical College of St Thomas Aquinas (the Angelicum) in Rome.

Speaking of his latest appointment, Bishop Byrne said: “I am deeply humbled by the trust Pope Francis has placed in me with this appointment as Bishop of Hexham & Newcastle.

“I would like to thank the people and priests of the Archdiocese of Birmingham where I have served for the past five years and, in particular, Archbishop Bernard for his constant kindness and support.

“I look forward to making my home in the North East, with its rich Christian heritage, and also getting to know and serve the people, deacons, religious and priests of the Diocese. I ask all of you to keep me in your prayers as I pray for you.”

Bishop Cunningham, who submitted his resignation upon turning 75 two years ago, welcomed his successor: “I am delighted to welcome Bishop Byrne as my successor at a time of great challenge and hope in this Diocese.

“The Lord Jesus is leading us along a road of rich discernment for the future of the Church and its mission. I know that the priests, deacons, religious and people of the Diocese will warmly welcome him and assure him of our prayers. May the Lord bless his ministry among us. We commend him to Mary the Mother of God, St Cuthbert and all the saints of our Diocese.”

Bishop Byrne’s Episcopal Installation will be celebrated at St Mary’s Cathedral, Newcastle, on March 25, the Feast of the Annunciation.