Pope Francis has appointed as bishop of Hexham and Newcastle, England, Bishop Robert Byrne, C.O., transferring him from the titular see of Cuncacestre and from the office of auxiliary of Birmingham. The announcement was made February 4, 2019, by the Vatican.
Bishop Byrne replaces Bishop Séamus Cunningham.
Bishop Byrne was born in Urmston, Lancashire, on September 22, 1956. He carried out his high school studies at St. Bede’s Grammar School and his university studies at King’s College, University of London.
In 1980 he entered the Birmingham Oratory and was ordained a priest on January 5, 1985.
Subsequently, with another two confreres, he transferred to the parish of Saint Aloysius, Oxford, to found a new oratory (1993). From 1993 to 2011 he was provost of the oratory in Oxford, at the same time holding the offices of chaplain in the prisons of Oxford and then Bullingdon; governor of the Oratory School (since 1996) and member of various of its committees; and finally as president of the Permanent Deputation of the International Confederation of Oratories (since 2000).
In 2011 he was appointed as secretary of the Department for Dialogue and Unity of the Episcopal Conference of England and Wales.
On March 15, 2014, he was elected as titular bishop of Cuncacestre and auxiliary of the Archdiocese of Birmingham, receiving episcopal consecration the following May 13.
Speaking of his appointment, Bishop Byrne said: “I am deeply humbled by the trust Pope Francis has placed in me with this appointment as Bishop of Hexham & Newcastle. I would like to thank the people and priests of the Archdiocese of Birmingham where I have served for the past five years and, in particular, Archbishop Bernard for his constant kindness and support. I look forward to making my home in the North East, with its rich Christian heritage, and also getting to know and serve the people, deacons, religious and priests of the Diocese. I ask all of you to keep me in your prayers as I pray for you.”