Mar 25, 2015 / 01:03 am
On Saturday, Pope Francis appointed Bishop Richard Moth of the British military diocese as Bishop of Arundel and Brighton, where he looks forward to serving the Church and sharing the Gospel.
"It is a great privilege to have been appointed by Pope Francis as the new Bishop of Arundel & Brighton and I am very conscious of the trust that has been placed in me," Bishop Moth said March 21.
"In these last fifty years since the foundation of the Diocese, so much has been done to build up the Church and in the proclamation of the Gospel and, with God's help, I look to guide and serve the Diocese to that same end."
The Arundel and Brighton diocese had been vacant since September, when its previous shepherd, Bishop Kieran Conry, resigned after revealing he had been unfaithful to his promises as a priest. According to The Daily Mail, he had had an affair six years ago and had more recently been involved with a married woman.
Since Bishop Conry's resignation, Archbishop Peter Smith of Southwark has served as Arundel and Brighton's apostolic administrator.
"I am especially grateful to Archbishop Peter Smith for all he has done in recent months to support and guide the Diocese," Bishop Moth noted.
For his part, Archbishop Smith stated his great joy at the appointment.
"I was so pleased when I heard the news that he had accepted the appointment from the Holy Father," he said. "I have known Bishop Richard for many years, firstly when I taught him as a student at St John's Seminary, then as a fellow priest of the Archdiocese and most recently as a brother bishop. I know that he will work tirelessly to serve all the people of the diocese, and I have no doubt that he will prove to be a true pastor to the clergy, Religious and people of the Diocese."
Bishop Moth was born in Zambia in 1958, and was raised in Kent, a county in southeast England. He then attended St. John's Seminary, and was ordained a priest of the Archdiocese of Southwark in 1982.
He served in several parishes, as well as serving as private secretary to the archbishop, vocations director, vicar general, and chancellor. While in Lewisham, he was a Territorial Army Chaplain for the Royal Army Medical Corps. He is also a Benedictine oblate, and a member of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre.
Bishop Moth studied canon law at St. Paul University in Ottawa, and subsequently served as president of Southwark's interdiocesan tribunal of second instance.
In 2009 he was appointed Bishop of the Armed Forces, where he served until his transfer to the Diocese of Arundel and Brighton.
"It has been wonderful, over these past five and half years, to work with the chaplains and so many people from the Armed Forces community and all those who serve as members of the Royal Navy, the Army and the Royal Air Force will always have a special place in my thoughts and prayers," Bishop Moth reflected.
Archbishop Smith told the people of Arundel and Brighton that their new shepherd " will bring with him his wide pastoral and administrative experience over 27 years."
Bishop Moth's Mass of Installation will be said May 28, " a most appropriate date as it is the actual anniversary of the creation of the Diocese."
"As we will all be remembering with joy all the gifts that the Lord has given to the diocese over the past fifty years, it will also be the time to take the first steps on the journey of the next fifty years," Archbishop Smith said. "Let us continue to pray for one another as we prepare for the Jubilee celebrations, and let us pray for Bishop Richard as he prepares to begin his new ministry with you."
Bishop Moth will then celebrate a Jubilee Mass of Thanksgiving for his new local Church on July 5. The diocese has a weekly Mass attendance of 40,000, and a Catholic population of 198,000, or six percent of the total population. There are 83 parishes, served by 136 diocesan and 97 religious preists. The diocese also has five seminarians.
Bishop Moth concluded his statement saying, "I ask for the prayers of the People and Clergy of the Diocese of Arundel & Brighton as I prepare for the years that lie ahead that together we be open to the promptings of the Holy Spirit in the service of Christ and his Church."