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World News

Pope Francis appoints Bishop of Plymouth as new Archbishop of Cardiff

by Donna Birrell

Pope Francis has appointed Rt Rev Mark O'Toole, Bishop of Plymouth as the next Archbishop of Cardiff.

Bishop Mark, who's 58, was born in Southwark and was ordained priest in 1990. He served in the Archdiocese of Westminster and worked as private secretary to Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor between 2002-2008.  He was appointed Bishop of Plymouth in 2013.

He  will become the eighth archbishop of Cardiff succeeding Archbishop George Stack, who has been Archbishop of Cardiff since 2011. He will also become Bishop of Menevia, a Roman Catholic Diocese in Wales.  

On hearing of his appointment, Archbishop-elect O'Toole said:

"I am grateful and humbled by the trust that the Holy Father has placed in me. I face the task ahead both with excitement and a certain trepidation, conscious of my own weaknesses. Throughout my life I have learnt to trust the Lord's will more deeply, and in these days of Eastertide especially, I have taken much comfort from Jesus' words to His first Apostles, "Do not be afraid. I go before you…" It is with this deep sense that the Lord goes before all of us in this new mission, that I fully embrace this new calling in my life.

"I express my heartfelt gratitude to all in the Diocese of Plymouth. You have taught me what it is to be a bishop. I will leave with many happy memories, and with sadness, too, in saying farewell to good friends. Thank you for the love you have shown me these past eight years. It strengthens me as I face this new opportunity, and I am sure you will be praying for me.

"Wales and Herefordshire are new territory for me, having only visited for holidays and retreats. I am struck by the rich history and dramatic geography of the two dioceses, with their vibrant multicultural cities, rural valleys, and beautiful coastlines, their agrarian and modern technological innovation and diversity. I am grateful for the roots we share in our rich Celtic culture. 

"I have much to learn and I know I can count on your patience and understanding. I ask especially for your prayers. When I first became bishop, I chose the motto, 'Into your hands, Lord'. It is a prayer I have had cause to make many times in recent days. It is a prayer that I ask us all in Cardiff and Menevia, to make together today, and in the weeks and months ahead." 

Welcoming the appointment, Cardinal Vincent Nichols, President of the Bishops' Conference said:

"Today's news of the appointment of Bishop Mark O'Toole as Metropolitan Archbishop of Cardiff and Bishop of Menevia, in persona Episcopi, is most welcome. I offer Bishop Mark my fullest support and fervent prayers as he prepares to take on this new role. I am sure that the Catholic community throughout Wales will welcome him warmly, as will leaders of other churches there and those of civic society. St David and all saints of Wales, pray for him."

Bishop Mark's installation as Archbishop of Cardiff will take place in Cardiff Cathedral on 20 June, the feast day of Welsh martyrs Saints Julius and Aaron.


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