Salford, England, Sep 30, 2014 / 12:48 pm
Bishop John Arnold, who was appointed Tuesday as Bishop of Salford, said that while the move will be a new experience for him, he will seek to serve his new Church in missionary discipleship.
"I accept the appointment as Bishop of Salford with much trepidation but will do all I can to serve the people, priests, and religious of the Church of this Diocese as we all seek to respond to Pope Francis' call to be 'missionary disciples'," Bishop Arnold said Sept. 30.
"I have much to learn in this new experience, after 31 years of priesthood spent entirely in Westminster."
The prelate has been an auxiliary bishop of the Westminster archdiocese since his episcopal consecration in 2006; and had been ordained a priest of the same local Church in 1983.
Bishop Arnold was born in 1953 in Sheffield, fewer than 50 miles east of Salford, and studied law at Oxford University, followed by his studies for the priesthood at the Gregorian University in Rome, where he obtained both a license and a doctorate in canon law.
After his ordination, he continued studying in Rome, and served the Archdiocese of Westminster as a hospital chaplain, parish priest, promoter of justice, and vicar general. He was named a monsignor in 2003.
"On leaving Westminster I would like to give thanks for all that I have received," Bishop Arnold said.
"I am very pleased to join with so many others in offering thanks and gratitude to Bishop Terence Brain for his leadership and shepherding of the Diocese with the hope that all the good work may be progressed. And I ask for prayers, that this diocesan family may journey together with determination and vision in faith and good works. I ask your prayers."
The appointment means that he will succeed Bishop Terence Brain, 75, who retired upon the announcement and who had shepherded the diocese since 1997.
Bishop Brain said that his successor "has great gifts to share with us and I have every confidence that he will be happy within the family of God of Salford Diocese. And I have the same confidence that the priests and people of the Diocese will welcome him so that together great things can be done for the glory of God."
Cardinal Vincent Nichols of Westminster said Salford's new ordinary "has been a faithful and devoted priest … for many years" in his archdiocese, and that "he has won the admiration and deep esteem of us all" in his assignments.
"We shall miss him. His new Diocese, I know, will welcome him and quickly come to appreciate his many gifts, his profound dedication and his generous spirit. We will be keeping Bishop John very much in our prayers as he prepares to undertake this new ministry and throughout the years to come. We thank him most sincerely for all his immense contribution to the life of the Diocese of Westminster and assure him of our continuing support and affection."
The Salford diocese has a population of 2.6 million, of whom 268,000, or about 13 percent, are Catholic. Bishop Arnold will be assisted in his ministry by 284 priests and 280 religious.