Today is the last day of three much loved and respected men as bishops in the Church of England. I do not know where to start to thank these bishops for their amazing witness, leadership, dedication and love. Although all three are equal of my respect and thanksgiving one I must honour in particular. John Broadhurst has been my bishop for the last three years and my leader for more. Bishop John has inducted me as Parish Priest at St John’s. This is a parish he knows, he knows people by name. He prays for this Parish and he really cares. In three years he came several times to celebrate Mass, to baptise and Confirm, to encourage us in the faith. He has been bishop here since his elevation to the See of Fulham, he has ordained our deacons and our priests. His last ordination was that of our present curate as deacon.
I will never forget his pastoral dedication especially in the two Pastoral Visits where he visited the school, the nursing homes, the hospital and some parishioners. He and Judy have been a blessing. It was heart breaking to name him in the Canon of the Mass for the very last time as John our Bishop.
His example is of immense proportions. He is leading his people by showing them the way forward. The way forward that he is showing as our Bishop is that there is no future Catholic life in the Church of England with any meaning or integrity. The way he is showing is the Catholic Ordinariate in the UK. A brave wave of men and women are getting ready for this exciting journey, the journey of a true unity with the Universal Church under the leadership of Peter. We have all experienced the blessings that the Pope has brought in his recent visit to our country, and it is to that joy of faith that many are being called. Let us keep these joyful people in our prayers.
Bishop John, as I can call you for the last time, thanks for your leadership, your shepherding, your total and selfless dedication. God is with you as are our feeble prayers.
2011 is going to be a wonderful year of opportunities! Blessed be God for ever!