Pope Appoints New Bishop of Leeds, England

Monsignor Marcus Stock Succeeds Archbishop Arthur Roche

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Pope Francis has appointed the secretary general of the Bishops Conference for England and Wales, Msgr. Marcus Stock, bishop of the diocese of Leeds, UK.

The diocese of Leeds has been without a bishop since its last pastor, Archbishop Arthur Roche, was appointed Secretary of the Vatican Congregation for Divine Worship and Discipline of the Sacraments in 2012.

The north England diocese is in the ecclesial province of Liverpool and is home to an estimated 150,000 Catholics.

Msgr. Marcus Stock was born in London, August 1961 He graduated in Theology from  Oxford (1983) and then, in Dogmatic Theology at the Pontifical Gregorian University (1988).  He was ordained a priest for the Archdiocese of Birmingham, on August 13, 1988.

He was assistant priest at the parish of Our Lady and St. Brigid’s, Northfield; parish priest of St. Birinus; from 1991 to 1994 pastor of Dochester-on-Thames and from 1994 to 1999 of St. Peter’s, Bloxwich. From 1999 to 2009 he was Director of the Catholic schools of the Archdiocese of Birmingham and at the same time the pastor at Coleshill, near Birmingham. From 2011 to 2013 he was Director of the Catholic Education Service.

Since 2009 he has been Secretary General of the Episcopal Conference of England and Wales and Director of the Faculty of Theology at Heythrop College, London.

Responding to the announcement, Msgr. Stock said: «I am overwhelmed at the trust which the Holy Father has placed in me.» 

He said when he was informed of his appointment, he was told he needed to choose a motto for his life as a bishop. «I needed no time to ponder on this,» he said. «Many years ago in Rome, on the day of my ordination as a deacon, and just before I made my solemn ordination promises, the late Cardinal Basil Hume said to me, «Let the words of Our Lord ring in your ears, ‘I have longed and longed to be with you’. Carry these words not only throughout your diaconate but into your priesthood; then, you will discover that peace, that joy, in the service of the servants of the Lord.»

«Since then, those words have been imprinted deep upon my heart,» Msgr. Stock said. «During his homily, Cardinal Hume had used those words to express the great desire and intimacy with which Our Lord wishes to share His divine life and love with each one of us. That life and love is offered freely to all men and women. If in faith we accept that life and love, we have no need to be afraid, we can bear all things, believe all things, hope all things, and endure all things. It is that message which I have tried to make central to my ministry as a priest and which I hope and pray will continue to be at the centre of my new ministry as a bishop. So, Desiderio desideravi will be my motto.

«Looking ahead, I place all my trust in the love and infinite mercy of Our Lord Jesus Christ and in the powerful intercession of His Blessed Mother, Our Lady of Unfailing Help,» he continued. «Please pray for me as I prepare for my episcopal ordination and be assured of my prayers for you.»

Responding to the news, Cardinal Vincent Nichols of Westminster expressed his «warmest thanks to Msgr. Stock for the great work he has done here in London on behalf of us bishops and the Church.

«The Diocese of Leeds is receiving a fine man as its new bishop,» he said. «He will bring his many abilities to his new calling. They are well known and widely appreciated. Most importantly of all, he brings his deep love of the Lord and His Church, the true source of his dedication, sensitivity, generosity and stability.

He added: «I welcome wholeheartedly this decision of Pope Francis and I assure Msgr. Marcus of my full support and prayers as he prepares for this next step in his vocation of service in the Church.»

Archbishop Bernard Longley of Birmingham praised his ministry and said the archdiocese of Birmingham will miss him greatly. «I know that you will pray for Msgr. Marcus as he prepares for his episcopal ordination,» he said. «He has asked me to assure you that he will pray for everybody in the Archdiocese of Birmingham with gratitude for our friendship and with abiding affection.»

The date of Bishop-elect Stock’s Episcopal Ordination will be announced shortly, the diocese of Leeds said. 


Vatican Radio

Diocese of Leeds 

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