As you have probably heard, Pope Francis has appointed 61year old Bishop John Arnold, an Auxiliary Bishop in the Archdiocese of Westminster, as Bishop of Salford diocese in succession to Bishop Brain who last December reached the retirement age of 75.
He hails from Sheffield but headed South to study Law at Oxford University before he set his mind on the priesthood. He trained in Rome from where he was ordained Priest in July 1983. He then gained a Doctorate in Canon Law before being appointed to Westminster Cathedral and chaplain to the Westminster Hospital in 1985. A wide variety of appointments followed before his ordination in 2006 as an Auxiliary Bishop of Westminster.
Cardinal Nichols, Archbishop of Westminster, said of him: “For many years Bishop John Arnold has been a faithful and devoted priest in the Diocese of Westminster. He has served as assistant priest, parish priest, Vicar General and, for the last eight years, Auxiliary Bishop. In all of these roles he has won the admiration and deep esteem of us all. In the name of Westminster Archdiocese, then, I rejoice in his appointment as the next Bishop of Salford, a major responsibility for which he is well suited. 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.”
Bishop Brain has written: “I would like to take this opportunity to express my gratitude to you all for the prayers that you have offered for my ministry among you: I have been very conscious of that strength behind me. I am also grateful for the affirmation and collaboration that I have received from the Diocesan family in so many ways: it has been a privilege to serve you all. I recognise that I did not always get it right and at times some of you were frustrated by my decisions but I pray God that, together, we have done some great things for Him and that we are in good heart to go forward on the journey of faith with Bishop John. So I simply say, thank you, God bless you. And I promise to keep you all in prayer. I have enjoyed being part of this family of God, and the last words I would like to share with you I take from that great and holy Lancashire lass, Alice Ingham: “Isn’t God great!”
Bishop John Arnold will be installed as Bishop of Salford on 8th December, the feast of the Immaculate Conception, details of which will be released later.