Pope Francis has appointed as the new auxiliary bishop of Westminster, England, Monsignor Nicholas Hudson, a priest of the Southwark Archdiocese and former rector of England and Wales’ seminary in Rome.
Since leaving his post as rector of the Venerable English College (VEC), which he held from 2004-2013, Monsignor Hudson has been serving as a parish priest for Sacred Heart in Wimbledon.
He said he was grateful to the staff and students of the VEC, saying that “years of helping to form future priests in Rome rekindled within me that sense of mission with which I first offered myself for the priesthood some 27 years ago, a mission which I feel privileged now to share with the people and clergy of Westminster.”
Nicholas Hudson was born in Hammersmith in 1959. Having completed his seminary training at the VEC, he was ordained to the priesthood in 1986 by Archbishop Michael Bowen in the Church of the Sacred Heart, Wimbledon. In 2000 he was appointed as vice rector of the VEC.
Monsignor Hudson’s episcopal ordination will take place at Westminster Cathedral on 4 June.
“I feel both honoured and humbled to have been appointed by the Holy Father, Pope Francis, as Auxiliary Bishop of Westminster,” he said. “I will do everything in my capacity to serve and assist His Eminence Cardinal Nichols in his ministry as Pastor of the Diocese.”
On being relocated to the Westminster Archdiocese, Bishop-elect Hudson said: “Coming from the south side of the Thames, I have always felt at home in both Westminster and Southwark. I look forward now to getting to know the Diocese of Westminster very much better: the great number of clergy, laity, religious, parishes, schools, and colleges; the many people of other Christian denominations and of other faith traditions – and help them in our shared journey of faith.”
“It is exciting to be a Catholic in this second year of the pontificate of Pope Francis,” he continued. “I pray that I might emulate the Holy Father’s radical simplicity and outreach to those on the margins of society and of the Church. Of all the many gifts received as a priest of Southwark most precious has been the privilege of knowing people with severe disabilities, who call us to make a place always for the poor at the heart of the Church.”
“As I prepare to cross the river,” Bishop-elect Hudson said, “my heart is full of gratitude to my home diocese, not least the Parish of the Sacred Heart, Wimbledon, where I first received the Faith. It has been a joy to serve there since January as parish priest: I am only sorry I cannot stay there longer.”
Archbishop of Westminster, Cardinal Vincent Nichols, said of the appointment: “I welcome most warmly the appointment of Msgr. Nicholas Hudson as Auxiliary Bishop in Westminster Diocese. I thank our Holy Father, Pope Francis, for this appointment.”
“Msgr. Hudson will bring wide experience and fine personal qualities to our Diocese,” the cardinal said. “I know that he will be received enthusiastically on this side of the Thames by both clergy and laity. We look forward very much to the start of his ministry among us.”
On learning of the appointment, Archbishop Peter Smith, of the Diocese of Southwark, offered his congratulations to Monsignor Hudson, saying: “I am very sorry that we will be losing him from Southwark but I know that Westminster will be very fortunate to have a new Auxiliary Bishop with a wide experience of dedicated priestly ministry over the past 28 years… He will be missed especially by the parishioners of the Sacred Heart parish, Wimbledon, his home parish, to which he was appointed parish priest only this January. However, Southwark’s loss is Westminster’s gain – and will be very blessed to have him as one of their Auxiliary Bishops.”