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Tomorrow sees the re-convening of bishops in Rome to consider marriage, divorce and sexuality. Last year’s meeting brought bitter disagreements out into the open and the rows have continued to simmer ever since
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Cardinal Vincent Nichols ordained an English Oratorian as an auxiliary bishop in Birmingham in a service at St Chad’s Cathedral this morning.
In his homily, Cardinal Nichols said that Bishop Robert Byrne, former Provost of the Oxford Oratory and until now the bishops’ ecumenical adviser, would be “most welcome” in the Diocese of Birmingham.
Cardinal Nichols said that during the service he would pray in particular to St Phillip Neri, who founded the Oratorian Order, and to Blessed Cardinal Newman, who brought it to England in 1848.
A prayer vigil was held at Birmingham Oratory last night in preparation for Bishop Robert’s Episcopal Ordination. It was attended by Oratory fathers from Birmingham, Oxford, Manchester, London and York, together with Bishop Robert’s parents and uncle, Fr John Rigby from the Diocese of Salford.
During the vigil the Archbishop of Birmingham, Bernard Longley, welcomed the increasing participation of the Oratorian movement in the life of the Church.
“We see in [Bishop Robert’s episcopal ordination] a deepening appreciation for the charism of the Oratory as members of its various English houses increasingly play their part in the life of the Church at diocesan and national levels,” he said.
He added that Our Lady of Fatima, whose feast falls today, answered his prayer for a new auxiliary bishop.
“Last summer I went for the first time on pilgrimage to the Shrine of Our Lady at Fatima and among my intentions there was a prayer that we might soon be blessed with a new auxiliary bishop. Tomorrow’s date was Fr Robert’s choosing, not mine, but it cannot fail to prompt me and all of us to give our thanks to God for the loving patronage of Our Lady of Fatima.”
Above: Bishop Robert Byrne. Photo: Diocese of Westminster