Rome Newsroom, Sep 30, 2020 / 03:00 am
After 11 years, the Catholic Church in central Norway will have a bishop again.
Fr. Erik Varden, a Cistercian monk and spiritual writer, will be consecrated a bishop at the Cathedral of St. Olav in Trondheim on Saturday, Oct. 3.
Varden, 46, is also the first Norwegian-born bishop of Trondheim in modern times. His five predecessors were German.
The bishop-elect told CNA by email that he had “been warmly and kindly received. I now look forward to getting to know the faithful of the prelature in its length and breadth, for it covers a large area.”
The Territorial Prelature of Trondheim spans 21,806 miles and serves an estimated 15,000 Catholics. The explosive growth of the Church in Norway has been documented by local media.
“To speak of a ‘boom’ is perhaps somewhat tendentious, but it is certainly in a state of numeric growth, chiefly on account of immigration,” Varden said.
“Norwegian Catholicism is extraordinarily international and intercultural. It is a paradox, a beautiful paradox, that one encounters such catholicity in the extreme diaspora,” he noted. “It is a challenge for all of us to make this growth bear fruit in unity, charity, and sanctity.”
Varden was abbot of Mount St. Bernard Abbey in Leicestershire, England, from 2015 to 2019, where he oversaw the abbey’s first foray into brewing beer in 2018.