Wednesday, May 14, 2014

The Episcopal Ordination of Oratorian Fr Robert Byrne

Fr Robert Byrne, Cong. Orat. was ordained as an Auxiliary Bishop yesterday at St Chad's Cathedral, Birmingham. He is the first Oratorian Bishop in England in 140 years, the last being Fr Edward Bagshawe who became Bishop of Nottingham in 1874. Fr Robert Byrne was one of the founders of the Oxford Oratory and he will serve as an auxiliary bishop in Birmingham. He will be the titular Bishop of Cuncacestre (Chester-le-Street). The Ordination was attended by the Oratory Fathers from Birmingham, Oxford, Manchester, London and York, as well as from the Oratory in formation in Washington DC.

The evening before there was a Vigil Liturgy at the Birmingham Oratory at which His Grace Archbishop Longley of Birmingham presided. The Bishop-Elect made his Profession of Faith and Pontifical Benediction followed. During the sermon at the Vigil, Archbishop Longley said:

Blessed John Henry Newman's beatification by Pope Benedict in 2010 has brought so many blessings to our local Church... we must now count (Fr Robert Byrne's) episcopal ministry among us as one of the gifts we have received through the intercession of Blessed John Henry, Cardinal Newman. We see in tomorrow's 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.

During the sermon at the Ordination His Eminence Cardinal Nichols said:

After Bishop-elect Robert makes his promises, we turn in prayer to the saints of the Church. Uppermost in my mind will be St Philip Neri, so well known as the saint and prophet of joy, renowned for his relaxed and attractive method of education, living across the road from the Venerable English College in Rome, giving his blessing to the young students, especially as they set out for their mission here in England. We certainly ask for his blessing today on this man.

And Blessed John Henry Newman, of whom Father Robert is a true son. He too will bless us today and enkindle in us that same passion for the truth of faith which he followed at such cost and with such rigour. His journey was described, on his tombstone, as one of moving ‘Out of shadows and images into the truth.’ May that be our daily journey, too, coming each day more fully into the light of the glory of God shining in the face of Jesus.

The photographs below show the Vigil as well as the Episcopal Ordination and are taken from the Catholic Church of England & Wales Photostream.
© Mazur/

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