The Holy Father has appointed Canon Paul Swarbrick as the next Bishop of Lancaster.
Bishop-elect Paul, 59, needs little introduction. He is originally from Garstang and is a priest of the Lancaster Diocese, ordained in 1982 and currently serving as Parish Priest of Christ, the Good Shepherd, in Workington. He's no stranger to Preston, having previously served as priest at St Maria Goretti's, English Martyrs, Sacred Heart and St Walburge's. He has also served parishes in Whitehaven, Blackpool and Ambleside, and spent fifteen years working on the missions in Zambia. He brings considerable pastoral experience and many personal qualities to his new role.
As it happens, it's ten years to the day since the announcement of the outgoing Bishop, Rt Rev. Michael Campbell, who will soon be allowed to retire and hopefully enjoy some rest after his ministry as priest and bishop. We wish him well, and a long, happy and healthy retirement. His work is not quite done, however: Bishop Campbell has been appointed Apostolic Administrator of the Diocese until the new Bishop is installed. The date of the ordination/installation is yet to be confirmed, but will take place in the next couple of months.
The announcement comes as we celebrate the feast of Our Lady of Lourdes, Patroness of our Diocese. In the parish we have been praying a novena to Our Lady, asking her to intercede for our families, parish and diocese. She has worked quickly! Today we celebrate her feast day, and ask her intercession for our new Bishop, that he may always know her maternal support, and may be a wise and faithful shepherd for the Church of Lancaster. Ad multos annos!