A new Bishop for an English diocese. Mgr Philip Egan will, on Monday September 24th, be consecrated as Bishop of Portsmouth. In a statement following the announcement of his appointment, he said: “It is with trepidation and yet with profound trust in the loving mercy of the Sacred Heart of Christ, that I accept the Holy Father’s appointment as the new Bishop of Portsmouth, in succession to dear Bishop Crispian.
“I look forward with joy to working with my fellow priests and with all who minister in parishes, schools and other contexts, caring for the people of God. May we all together be in the closest communion of heart and mind with our Holy Father, Pope Benedict, and faithful to his call to New Evangelisation.
“The ministry of the bishop, as the chief shepherd, priest and teacher of the flock entrusted to him, involves carrying the Lord’s Cross in a particular way. So as I begin this ministry and look to the years ahead, I sincerely ask you for your prayers, together with those of our brothers and sisters in the other Christian communities and indeed of every person of faith and goodwill.”
Portsmouth is famous as a Naval base and the Catholic cathedral there has its origins in a chapel built for Catholic sailors and soldiers in the days when Catholic worship was first allowed again legally in Britain after 300 of persecution. Dedicated to St John, the present cathedral is a fine building which will be a magnificent setting for the episcopal ordination ceremony. Mgr Egan will be the eighth Bishop of the diocese.
September 24th is a good day for an English diocese to receive a new Bishop – it is the feast of Our Lady of Walsingham. Archbishop Vincent Nichols of Westminster will be preaching. Archbishop Peter Smith of Southwark along with Bishop Crispian Hollis – the recently retired Bishop of Portsmouth – and Bishop Mark Davies of Shrewsbury, will be co-consecrators of the new Bishop. A great array of Bishops from England and Wales will be present, including the Archbishops of Birmingham and of Cardiff, and the Bishops of Lancaster, Northampton, Plymouth, and Mgr Keith Newton of the Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham. There will be a strong ecumenical presence: the Anglican Bishops of Portsmouth, and Winchester will be there, and a representative from the Salvation Army, among others. The Lord Lieutenant of Hampshire, the Lord Lieutenant of the Isle of Wight, the Lord Mayor and Mayoress of Portsmouth, the local Member of Parliament, and the Vice-Chancellor of Portsmouth University will also be present.
Music at the Mass will include Gregorian Chant, Bach, Tallis, Taize chant, and a new Te Deum written specially for the day. There will be a Fanfare from Her Majesty’s Royal Band, Portsmouth. Hymns will include John Henry Newman’s “Praise to the Holiest in the height” and popular hymns “Soul of my Saviour” and “Hail queen of Heaven”.
Mgr Egan has announced that his motto as Bishop will be In corde Jesu – “In the heart of Jesus”.