Cardinal Vincent Nichols, archbishop of Westminster, returned to his former see in Birmingham for a Mass to celebrate his Feb. 22 elevation to cardinal.
The Mass was celebrated with the current archbishop of Birmingham, Archbishop Bernard Longley, who said, “We share the pride of the Church in England and Wales at welcoming your return to this city as Cardinal.”
Cardinal Nichols received the title and titular church of cardinal-priest of the Church of St. Alfonsus Ligouri in Rome.
Archbishop Longley thanked the new cardinal for his “defence of the most needy and overlooked members of our society” and for his “national and ecumenical leadership.”
He also expressed gratitude to his predecessor for being ready to “pitch your tent among the Midlands people of this city and the Archdiocese who took you to their heart.”
On his first visit to Birmingham since being created cardinal on 22 February, Cardinal Nichols said that he was “delighted” to be back in the city. “It’s a chance for me to rejoice in the richness of life that I received in Birmingham; to thank God for it and I hope to keep and refresh some of the friendships that I made.”
The assembly included bishops, priests, deacons, religious and lay faithful, faith leaders and civic representatives.
As a sign of congratulations and affection for the new Cardinal, the Archdiocese of Birmingham collected a gift of more than £30,000 (close to $50,000). Cardinal Nichols has asked that this gift be given to the suffering Church in the Holy Land, through the Friends of the Holy Land, a charity which he helped to found. (D.A.S.)