Pope Francis has appointed Canon David James Oakley as the thirteenth Bishop of Northampton.
Bishop-elect Oakley served as Rector of St Mary’s College Oscott, a seminary in Birmingham for training priests for ministry in England and Wales, since February 2013.
He succeeds the Right Reverend Peter Doyle whom he described as “a wonderful spiritual father and great pastor in Northampton”.
Bishop Doyle has worked closely with Bishop-elect Oakley during his seven years as rector of the seminary at Oscott and knows him to be a man of faith and prayer, and a pastoral priest and wise teacher.
Bishop Peter ‘rejoiced’ in the news and joined the priests and deacons, and the religious and people of the Diocese of Northampton in giving thanks to God and welcoming Bishop-elect Oakley and praying for him as he prepares for his ordination as Bishop.
Speaking at a welcome ceremony in Northampton Cathedral, Bishop-elect Oakley said:
“I’m asking Our Lady and St Joseph to give me the courage and inspiration I need [as a new bishop]. I look forward to working closely with the priests of the diocese – some of whom were my school friends!
“On this particular day, lots of names and faces come to mind – my family, friends, parishioners, and bishops. They have given me courage… It’s not easy to be a person of faith today but we need to concentrate on God’s grace and I’m going to rely on this now.”
Cardinal Vincent Nichols, President of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales, who will celebrate the Episcopal Ordination of Bishop-elect Oakley in Northampton Cathedral, said:
“I assure Bishop-elect David Oakley of my most sincere prayers and total support as he prepares to take up his appointment as Bishop of Northampton, in succession to Bishop Peter Doyle.
“Bishop Peter will be much missed; Bishop David will be warmly welcomed.”
The Cardinal will celebrate the Episcopal Ordination in Northampton Cathedral at 11 am on the Solemnity of St Joseph, March 19, 2020.
David James Oakley was born on 28 November 1955 in Stourbridge. He is the eldest of five children to Joyce and Fred Oakley.
The family moved to Birmingham when David was seven years old. After school, he worked in a well-known department store and entered Oscott in September 1974.
Fr Oakley was ordained a priest on 5 July 1980 and has served in several parishes within the Archdiocese of Birmingham. He has always suggested that the parish is his natural habitat.
Fr Oakley studied catechetics at the Maryvale Institute and was awarded an MEd degree. He was appointed Pastoral Director and Procurator at Oscott in 1994. During this time he researched a Ph.D. thesis in Pastoral Theology, which was later published.
As Parish Priest at Maryvale, Fr Oakley directed the diocesan Department for Parish and Family Catechesis, developing resources in collaboration with CaFE. At the same time, he undertook licentiate studies at the Pontifical University of St Patrick’s, Maynooth and was awarded the STL degree. Since February 2013, he has served as the twenty-third Rector of Oscott.